Nov 012022
 
 November 1, 2022  Posted by at 8:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  73 Responses »


Vilhelm Hammershoi Woman Seen from the Back 1888

 

Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation (IC)
“The Bird is Free.” Will Elon Musk Become Grand Duke of Mars? (Ugo Bardi)
How Elon Musk Should Shape Twitter — Sans the Sink (Turley)
‘Inflation Came From Nowhere’ – Lagarde (RT)
Putin Clarifies Position On Grain Deal (RT)
Russia Tells UN It Will Inspect Black Sea Ships (RT)
Israeli Finance Minister Added To Kiev’s ‘Kill List’ (RT)
Much Of Kiev Without Power & Water After New Russian Airstrikes (ZH)
From The Surreal To The Real To The Meta-Real (Batiushka)
Drone Attack On Sevastopol (MoA)
Comeback Kid Lula In The Eye Of A Volcano (Escobar)
Why The US-Saudi Relationship Is Withering (RT)
They Rule Over Dysfunctional Ruin, but They Rule (Crooke)
US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 3 (Phillyguy)
Russia’s New Regions On Collision Course With Ukraine 100 Years Ago (Nepogodin)

 

 

“The less men think, the more they talk.”
~ Montesquieu

 

 

 

 

Nord Stream 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethical Skeptic 7:1

 

 

The Swiss National Bank just reported an enormous $142.6 BILLION dollar loss in the first 9 months of 2022, which is by far the largest loss in the bank’s 115 year history.

 

 

 

 

This is scary but not surprising. And it’s not about disinformation, but about anything that questions “official” info. “..the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

It’s just partisan politics, flavored with a whiff of what both parties agree on, i.e. war. And it just so happens that the people who bring you this are the exact same lot that gave you Russia Russia, which was the biggest crop of disinformation ever.

Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation (IC)

Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information. Though DHS shuttered its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, a strategic document reveals the underlying work is ongoing. DHS plans to target inaccurate information on “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly. “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February. In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government. Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” “We do not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions, and we independently evaluate content in line with the Twitter Rules,” a spokesperson for Twitter wrote in a statement to The Intercept.

There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use. At the time of writing, the “content request system” at facebook.com/xtakedowns/login is still live. [..] According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target “inaccurate information” on a wide range of topics, including “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.” [..] The inclusion of the 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is particularly noteworthy, given that House Republicans, should they take the majority in the midterms, have vowed to investigate. “This makes Benghazi look like a much smaller issue,” said Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., a member of the Armed Services Committee, adding that finding answers “will be a top priority.”

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And in view of DHS et al trying to control information flow, Ugo Bardi’s point is salient: Elon Musk understands that better than all the rest put together.

“The Bird is Free.” Will Elon Musk Become Grand Duke of Mars? (Ugo Bardi)

Some people absolutely love censorship. But many (perhaps most) users of social media didn’t like to be watched from over their shoulders by those overzealous nannies who pretended to know better than them what is true and what is not. That generated criticism, and some attempts to rein in the censors. But, so far, we only saw censorship increasing its reach and becoming more pervasive.Except for the news of the day: the bird is free! Elon Musk bought Twitter and promises to eliminate censorship.

What’s happening? There are several possible interpretations, but at least something is clear: those who rule us are not a monolithic entity, as the Communist Party was in the Soviet Union. There are several would-be world rulers who are vying for power behind the scene. Musk may actually be smarter than most of them and able to understand that you gain nothing by silencing those who disagree with you. Suppose he wants to become the next US president, or maybe the Grand Duke of Mars, then he has to think like the Grand Duke of Tuscany did. He needs to know what people think because he can rule only if people agree that he is the ruler. Ruling by force and oppression is inefficient and, often, the ruler ends up hanged by the feet. So, Musk may well understand that he needs to leave some space for people to express themselves. The bird may not be completely free, but it has to be able to fly.

We seem to be in a transition moment (we always are). The Internet is under pressure by the attempt of controlling it by the powers that be, turning it into a tool for a totalitarian government (in China, the government may have succeeded at that). But, at the same time, some members of the elites are realizing that the Internet is a much better tool if used according to its characteristic of a two-way communication system. The Internet may allow us to generate a new governance system that might be more effective and just than the old totalitarian systems. It might be part of a “new Renaissance” that could take some aspects similar to the way Cosimo the 1st ruled in Tuscany during the 16th century. Maybe. But, as always, the future will surprise us.

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But still, Musk would have to deflect the entire kitchen sink that will be thrown at him.

How Elon Musk Should Shape Twitter — Sans the Sink (Turley)

News reports last week seemed to start out like a bar joke: The richest man in the world walks in carrying a sink . . . Of course, it was a joke — a colossal joke. The question is whom the joke is on. For Elon Musk, the punch line was appropriately delivered on Twitter, the company he’s taking over Friday at an inflated price. Calling himself “Chief Twit,” Musk posted the video with the caption “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” For the Musk-phobic, it was as funny as a drive-by shooting. CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem denounced Musk’s taunt as “fundamentally cruel.” After all, when Musk was first reported to be buying the company, employees were so traumatized that leadership had to offer emotional support just to “get through the week.”

The reason is less the fear of Musk bringing bathroom fixtures than free speech into San Francisco headquarters. Twitter has created one of the largest censorship systems in world history — a system widely condemned for a pattern of political bias and viewpoint intolerance. Outgoing CEO Parag Agrawal is unabashedly hostile to traditional views of free speech. Soon after he took over, he pledged to regulate content and said the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the Internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.” For employees who are true believers of this censorship scheme, the joke no doubt feels like it’s on them. The censorship skill set may not be quite as much in demand in a Musk-owned firm.

While Facebook, Google and other companies are still committed to corporate censorship, Musk has pledged to restore free speech principles to Twitter. But the joke may still be on Musk if he yields to Twitter’s corporate culture or the mainstream media’s unrelenting pressure. Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton have turned from private censorship to good old-fashioned state censorship. Clinton has called on foreign governments to step in and pass laws that would force Twitter to continue to censor opposing views. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently repeated this call for global censorship at the United Nations to the applause of diplomats and media alike. Musk may have to yield to such domestic laws, but he can use his platform to inform citizens of those countries they are being censored and controlled in what they are allowed to read.

The most important thing in America is for Musk to hit the ground running at Twitter. First, he needs to order the preservation of all records. There are well-supported examples of biased censorship, including the burying of The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story before the election. There are also allegations of back-channel communications from the government to manage a type of censorship-by-surrogate system to evade the First Amendment. Second, Musk should focus on the First Amendment as a model for Twitter’s content-management policy. It has become a mantra on the left that free-speech objections to social-media censorship are meritless because the First Amendment does not apply to private corporations.

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Lagarde should be fired for 1) making this statement, and 2) meaning it.

‘Inflation Came From Nowhere’ – Lagarde (RT)

The European Central Bank (ECB) has doubled its key interest rate to the highest level in more than a decade in an attempt to combat soaring inflation, ECB President Christine Lagarde has explained. In an interview with Irish national broadcaster RTE on Friday, Lagarde said: “We do it because we are fighting inflation” that had “pretty much come about from nowhere.” She pointed to a speedier-than-expected economic rebound from the pandemic as a cause alongside “the energy crisis caused by Mr. Putin who has decided in an unjustifiable way to invade another country.” The ECB chief added: “That’s what he [Putin] is trying to do, cause chaos and destroy as much of Europe as he can. This energy crisis is causing massive inflation which we have to defeat.”

She went on to say that “Anybody who is behaving in that way has to be driven by evil forces,” and that the “sick”Russian president is a “terrifying person.” Discussing her previous meetings with the Russian leader, Lagarde described him as an “unbelievably super-briefed person” with “flashing, freezing eyes.” After expressing her view, Lagarde however stressed that she’s “just a central banker,” and “shouldn’t be saying all these things.” On Thursday, the ECB announced another interest rate hike, taking Eurozone rates to the highest level since 2009. According to Lagarde, they are aimed at bringing inflation back to “reasonable levels so the cost of living isn’t as high as it is for people.” In September, inflation across the euro area hit 10%.

The EU has blamed Russia for the spiraling energy crisis across the continent. However, many economists point to the bloc’s fiscal policy responses as a major reason behind the crisis. Moscow has also criticized the “illogical and often absurd” moves by Western nations, saying that the sanctions imposed by the US, EU, and other countries on Russia have backfired and resulted in a sweeping energy crisis as well as record inflation across the West.

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This will cost Erdogan a lot of points. He negotiated the grain corridor, meant for Africa nations, but grabbed 34% for himself AND allowed Kiev to use the corridor to hide drones.

Putin Clarifies Position On Grain Deal (RT)

The grain deal between Moscow and Kiev has not met its stated goals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. Most of the Ukrainian agricultural products exported under the agreement have not reached the poorer nations they were supposedly intended for and have instead ended up in Europe and Türkiye, he argued. Putin said Moscow was suspending its participation in the deal, but not fully withdrawing from it. The deal was promoted to “secure the interests of the poorer nations,” he said, adding that, according to Russian intelligence, the real structure of Ukraine’s grain exports is vastly different. “We agreed to that [grain deal] precisely in the interests of the poorer nations,”the Russian president said.

“On the whole, it looks like 34% of [the Ukrainian] grain gets to Türkiye, 35% or even more is taken by the EU nations and only between three and four … or five percent, according to our Agriculture Ministry … goes to the poorer nations,” Putin said. His words came as the Russian military closed the Black Sea grain corridor used to export Ukrainian grain under the agreement reached in Istanbul in July. The agreement – mediated by the UN and Türkiye – was initially hailed as critical for easing the global food crisis and helping the world’s poorest nations avoid starvation. Russia has since repeatedly pointed out that the grain, in fact, goes to other destinations. Moscow decided to halt its participation in the deal following a massive drone attack on its naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol last week.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the naval drones used in the attack navigated through the grain corridor’s security zone to reach their targets. One of them might have even been launched from a civilian vessel chartered to transport Ukrainian grain shipments, it added. Earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was ready to compensate the missing Ukrainian grain export volumes from its own stocks. At the same time, he said that Moscow could not yet name the conditions that would make it resume its participation in the deal. In the wake of Moscow’s decision to suspend its participation in the deal, the UN has insisted that “food must flow”regardless of circumstances. Civilian vessels “can never be a military target or held hostage,” the UN coordinator for the Black Sea grain initiative, Amir Abdulla, said. Russia has previously said that it could not guarantee the security of the grain corridor if Kiev used it for military purposes.

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Inevitable. If Turkey doesn’t do it, Russia must.

Russia Tells UN It Will Inspect Black Sea Ships (RT)

Ukraine “grossly violated” the Istanbul agreement on grain exports via the Black Sea and forced Moscow to suspend it indefinitely, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday. The Russian Navy will inspect all cargo ships bound for Ukraine, even those unilaterally cleared by the Turkish-based coordination center, he added. “This subversive action of Kiev grossly violates the Istanbul agreements and, in fact, puts an end to their humanitarian dimension. It is now obvious to everyone that the Black Sea humanitarian corridor is being used by the Ukrainian side for military sabotage purposes,” Nebenzia said, referring to Saturday’s drone attack on Sevastopol. Russia “cannot guarantee the safety of civilian ships participating in the Black Sea initiative,” Nebenzia added, as “we do not know what other terrorist attacks Kiev is preparing with the support of its Western sponsors.”

On Sunday, after Moscow announced the suspension of the arrangement, the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul said it had greenlit 16 ships to navigate the corridor on Monday and “informed” Russia about the decision. According to maritime traffic data, at least two ships left the Black Sea port of Odessa in the morning, reporting Istanbul as their destination. “Decisions and measures taken without our participation are not binding on us,”Nebenzia told the UN. Moscow “cannot allow ships to pass without our inspection and will be forced to take independent measures” to inspect ships authorized by the JCC without Russian approval. Meanwhile, the UN coordinator for the Black Sea grain initiative, Amir Abdulla, insisted that “the food must flow.”

The UN and Türkiye mediated a deal in July under which Ukrainian grain could be exported via the Black Sea, while Western obstacles to the exportation of Russian grain and fertilizer would be removed. The US and its allies insist they had never sanctioned grain exports – but their sanctions on Russian ships and insurance made them impossible in practice. Moscow has criticized the West for not keeping its side of the deal and pointed out that the bulk of Ukrainian exports had gone to the EU and not the African nations most affected by food insecurity. Russia halted its compliance with the pact on Saturday, after Kiev launched a major drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in securing safe passage for agricultural cargo from Ukrainian ports. On Sunday, after studying the wreckage of the unmanned combat vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry said that those behind the attack made active use of the UN-brokered grain corridor.

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Just making friends.

Israeli Finance Minister Added To Kiev’s ‘Kill List’ (RT)

Israeli finance minister, Avigdor Lieberman has been added to the database of the “enemies of Ukraine” on the controversial Mirotvorets website on Sunday. The authors of the site, which is believed to have links to the Ukrainian security services, described Lieberman as “Russia’s agent of influence,” who had been manipulating publicly significant information in favor of Moscow. They also blamed him for taking part in acts of “humanitarian aggression” against Ukraine. Among the actions that led to Lieberman being placed on the list, were his refusal to finance an Israeli field hospital in Ukraine in March and his neutral stance on who is to blame for the massacre in the Kiev suburb of Bucha in April. The website also shared a link to an article, claiming that he had ties with Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Ukrainian authorities have frequently expressed their disappointment with the level of support they’ve been getting from Israel during the conflict with Russia. The country has only provided Kiev with humanitarian aid and life-saving defense equipment, but not weapons and munitions. Israel also refrained from joining international sanctions on Moscow. Last week, Liberman said that Israeli assistance to Ukraine since the outbreak of the fighting between Russia and Ukraine in late February amounted to some $40 million. Liberman has been finance minister since 2021. He’s a veteran politician, who has occupied various high positions in the Israeli government over the years, including foreign minister, defense minister, and deputy PM. The 64-year-old is also the head of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), which holds seven seats in the country’s parliament, the Knesset.

Liberman was born in Chisinau, Moldova when the republic was part of the Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1978. The Mirotvorets website, translated as ‘peacemaker’, was launched in 2014, positioning itself as an independent database run by anonymous moderators to help Ukrainian authorities and “special services” apprehend pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, and war criminals, among others. However, some have branded the database a ‘kill list,’ which is backed by the government, after several individuals, including writer Oles Buzina, politician Oleg Kalashnikov, and Russian journalist Darya Dugina were assassinated shortly after their profiles appeared on the website. The most recent high-profile additions to Mirotvorets included Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters. There were claims that the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, was put on the database in mid-October, but swiftly removed from it. The alleged addition happened after Musk offered a peace plan, which envisaged Kiev giving up territories to Moscow.

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Slow grind.

Much Of Kiev Without Power & Water After New Russian Airstrikes (ZH)

Much of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is without electricity or water, after the latest round of major Russian airstrikes on Monday. The Russian military announced ‘successful’ strikes on multiple of the country’s vital infrastructure facilities. “The Russian Armed Forces continued to launch strikes with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons against Ukrainian military and energy facilities,” the Defense Ministry said. “The goals of the strikes were successful. All assigned objects were hit.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal confirmed direct hits on 18 sites – most of which were connected to the nation’s energy supply. These ramped up attacks have created a growing sense of panic with temperatures plunging and winter approaching.

“Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 sites were damaged, most of them energy-related,” Shmyhal stated on Telegram. “Hundreds of settlements in seven regions of Ukraine were cut off.” Facilities in Cherkasy and Kirovohrad also came under attack. Ukraine’s military said it intercepted projectiles over the Lviv region, which spared this western part of the country from damage. The Washington Post noted there are “power outages continuing in the Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions,” and others. The Post listed some of the below regions impacted by large-scale power outages and water supply disruptions:

• Kyiv region: Russian strikes damaged buildings, and rescuers are searching for victims, the regional police said. Attacks left 80 percent of the capital without water and are likely to cause sustained power outages, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
• Kharkiv: Two strikes hit critical infrastructure facilities in the eastern city, causing problems with the water supply and affecting the public transit network, the mayor said.
• Zaporizhzhia region: An infrastructure facility was struck by rockets, the local governor said, prompting warnings from officials in the southern region that energy supplies there could also be affected.
• Cherkasy region: Some of the region lost power after air attacks on infrastructure facilities, the military administrator said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the attacks as more war crimes: “Another batch of Russian missiles hits Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia fights civilians,” he tweeted. Additionally Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on Telegram that these fresh strikes left 80% of residents in the capital without water and some 350,000 homes with no electricity. “Just in case, we ask you to stock up on water from the nearest pumps and points of sale,” he advised. The mayor’s office vowed that water supply to the effected parts of the city would be restored in three to four hours, with emergency utility crews working urgently on it.

Rescue teams in the capital are reportedly searching for possible casualties under the rubble of buildings destroyed or damaged from the new salvo of Russian strikes; however, at this point casualty numbers are unclear. The US ambassador said she and her staff had to take shelter in this latest attack on the capital: Already before Monday’s attacks, Ukrainian officials estimated that 40% of the nation’s electrical power systems had been severely damaged, and urged households to limit their usage, especially with non-essential large appliances. Ukrainians are further being warned to prepare for long-term power outages as a frigid winter is just around the corner.

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“The mirage is over. This Hell-begotten war must end.”

From The Surreal To The Real To The Meta-Real (Batiushka)

[..] the surreal continued when, on 23 October, with the Russian Defence Minister’s phone calls to his US, UK, French and Turkish counterparts about the Russian discovery of a Kiev/MI6 plot to use a ‘dirty’ bomb and blame it on Russia. Having outed the plot, Sergei Shoigu had alerted the US Establishment to the extremism of the now desperate Kiev elite (and their British MI6 operatives). The US put the Kiev crazies in their place, since, after all, the US are the string-pullers and puppets are not allowed to do anything without their express permission. The US duly stated that it has seen no evidence that Russia intends to use nuclear weaponry and President Putin stated that Russia has no plans to use nuclear weapons. The panic and hysteria of the Western media and of others was unfounded; though the mass media did not report the US admission. Panic and hysteria sell.

[..] Let us now come back to reality. The 87,5% of the world which either supports the Russian campaign to liberate the Ukraine, or else remains neutral towards it, shows the increasing isolation of the Nazi West. And it is now also crystal clear that ‘the West’ is in fact only the USA, just as NATO is only the USA, the Wicked Witch of the West. The rest is just camouflage, a mirage. In Italy, Germany, France, Moldova, the Czech Lands, Romania (the former Defence Minister), Bulgaria, Serbia, even in the UK, dissident voices are protesting. For God’s sake, negotiate with Russia! The Ukraine is their business, not ours, they’re all basically Russkies anyhow. We want gas and food! Who cares about the Nazi puppets in Kiev?

More and more all European governments, apart only from the Hungarian, are being seen as what they are – simply US puppet elites, who do not represent their peoples. EU or Non-EU Europe, there is no difference, apart from Hungary, which alone has, in every sense, a popular government. If Nobel Prizes were given non-politically, surely Victor Orban should have won one of them by now. Here the hypochondriac French are going crazy because China is sanctioning them by depriving them of paracetamol. Perhaps as many as 20% of Western Europeans have now realised that the whole Ukraine affair is a put-up job, arranged by the US, with its British poodle yapping at its feet. Same as Iraq, same as Afghanistan. Same old, same old.

The poodle is more papist than the Pope. Over the last two months it is notable that most Ukrainian flags have been taken down in Europe. It is rare to see one now. The working class were never interested, they always knew it was just another operation by the arms industry, but now even the conformist middle-class is taking down its Ukrainian flags. The mirage is over. This Hell-begotten war must end.

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UK was directly involved.

Drone Attack On Sevastopol (MoA)

This morning at 4:20 local time the Russian fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol was attacked by nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous maritime drones. Earlier a maritime drone that had run aground in Crimea and had been found and pictured. During today’s attack a large U.S. drone had flown circles south of Crimea. It likely relayed data from and to the drones. The maritime drones are British and Russia alleges that British specialists had trained the Ukrainian navy in using them. It also says that British soldiers were involved in the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline. The Ukrainians published two videos shot by the maritime drones while attacking. One of the video shows extensive gun fire impacts near the drone from a Russian helicopter that is attacking it.

The Russians say that all the aerial drones and 4 of 7 maritime drones were defeated before they could caused damage. They also say that one mine seeking ship was damaged in the harbor. It is possible that the damage is greater than Russia admits. As a consequence of the attack Russia declared that the deal which allowed for grain exports from Odessa has been suspended. That deal had already been in danger as the ‘west’ had not fulfilled its part of the deal which would have allowed for the export for Russian fertilizer to third parties. I find it likely that Russia will take additional measures to punish the Ukrainian navy for the brazen attack. Additional attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure is another possibility.

Meanwhile all recent attempts by the Ukrainian army to penetrate the Russian held lines have failed. It is notable that these are now much smaller in size with just a battalion or in some cases just two companies in the lead. It is now definitely mud season in Ukraine during which it is impossible to cross most farmland even on feet. This will hinder the attacking forces on both sides until winter sets in.

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Lula has strong ties to China and has been a driving force behind BRICS.

“..the next BRICS summit in South Africa, which will consolidate BRICS+, as an array of nations are itching to join, from Argentina and Saudi Arabia to Iran and Turkey.”

Comeback Kid Lula In The Eye Of A Volcano (Escobar)

Lula is one of the founders of the BRICS in 2006, which evolved out of the Russia-China dialogue. He’s immensely respected by the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. He has promised to serve only one term, or up to the end of 2026. But that’s exactly the key stretch in the eye of the volcano, straddling the decade Putin described in his Valdai speech as the most dangerous and important since World War II. The drive towards a multipolar world, institutionally represented by a congregation of bodies from BRICS+ to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to the Eurasia Economic Union, will profit immensely to have Lula on board as arguably the natural leader of the Global South – with a track record to match.

Of course, his immediate foreign policy focus will be South America: he already announced that will be the destination of his first presidential visit, most probably Argentina, which is bound to join BRICS+. Then he will visit Washington. He has to. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Informed opinion across the Global South is very much aware that it’s under Obama-Biden that the whole, complex operation to topple Dilma and expel Lula from politics was orchestrated. Brazil will be a lame duck at the upcoming G20 in Bali in mid-November but in 2023 Lula will be back in business side-by-side with Putin and Xi. And that also applies to the next BRICS summit in South Africa, which will consolidate BRICS+, as an array of nations are itching to join, from Argentina and Saudi Arabia to Iran and Turkey.

And then there’s the Brazil-China nexus. Brasilia has been Beijing’s key trade partner in Latin America since 2009, absorbing roughly half of China’s investment in the region (and the most of any Latin American investment destination in 2021) and firmly placed as the fifth largest exporter of crude for the Chinese market, second for iron and first for soybeans. The precedents tell the story. Right from the start, in 2003, Lula bet on a strategic partnership with China. He considered his first trip to Beijing in 2004 as his top foreign policy priority. The goodwill in Beijing is unshakeable: Lula is considered an old friend by China – and that political capital will open virtually every red door.

In practice, that will mean Lula investing his considerable global clout in strengthening BRICS+ (he already stated BRICS will be at the center of his foreign policy) and the inner workings of South-South geopolitical and geo-economic cooperation. That may even include Lula formally signing up Brazil as a partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a way that won’t antagonize the US. Lula, after all, is a master of this craft.

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Saudi Arabia cannot pick the US over OPEC+ and BRICS. It’s not in their interest.

Why The US-Saudi Relationship Is Withering (RT)

As the Gulf States are ultimately concerned with preserving their own value systems and independence, they have increasingly diversified their relationships in recent years with tilts towards Russia and China. Beijing, with its enormous demand for energy, has also become a lucrative alternative to the West. Similarly, stable ties with Moscow also allow for cooperation in the common interests of oil-exporting countries, which has also had the effect of reducing Western influence and dominance over those countries. On recognizing this, why would Saudi Arabia and the states of OPEC voluntarily undermine their own oil revenue merely to suit the geopolitical interests of the United States?

The world is in the middle of an energy price crisis exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine. Saudi Arabia sees that the US and some of its allies want to purposefully try to lower the price of oil in a bid to try and hurt Russia. However, that is not how the market works and, by extension, such a move is also an assault on Saudi and OPEC interests. While the kingdom is officially neutral in regards to Russia-Ukraine, it also recognizes that the success of an energy price cap would embolden the West to push harder against Russia, which also serves to undermine the kingdom’s geopolitical independence.

In other words, if the US succeeded in dividing OPEC by unilaterally demanding a price cap on oil products, it would defeat the very purpose of the organization itself to protect the respective economic interests of those countries. The United States has been a useful partner to Saudi Arabia, but it is not a friend. It is not part of a ‘bloc’ or ideological coalition, as let’s say the UK is, but merely has seen the West as the most useful and lucrative partner to fulfil its own political needs. As those needs change, Saudi Arabia’s preferences are also subject to change. Washington is therefore learning that the kingdom is not a client state to be called on when needed, and thus this very close and often contradictory partnership is starting to strain.

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Nero comes to mind.

They Rule Over Dysfunctional Ruin, but They Rule (Crooke)

Since 2008, we have lived in a western world shaped by the ‘permanent state’ or by our managerial technocrats – label to choice. This ‘creative class’ (as they like to see themselves) is particularly defined by its intermediary position in relation to the wealth-controlling oligarchic cabal as ultimate big money overlords on one hand, and the dullard ‘Middle Class’ below them – at whom they sneer and deride. This intermediary class didn’t set out to dominate politics (they say); It just happened. Initially, the aim was to foster progressive values. But instead, these professional technocrats, who both had accreted considerable wealth and were tightly congregated into cliques in America’s large metro areas, came to dominate left-wing parties around the world that formerly were vehicles for the working class.

Those who coveted membership in this new ‘aristocracy’ cultivated their image as one of cosmopolitan, fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture – multiculturalism suited them to perfection. Painting themselves as the political conscience of the whole of society (if not the world), the reality was that their Zeitgeist reflected primarily the whims, prejudices and increasingly psychopathies of one segment of liberal society. Into this milieu arrived two defining events: In 2008, Ben Bernanke, Chair of the Federal Reserve, gathered together in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a room-full of the wealthiest oligarchs, ‘locking them in’ until they found the solution to the unfolding systemic bank failure.

The oligarchs did not find a solution but were released from their lock-up anyway. They opted instead, to throw money at structural problems, compounded by egregious errors of judgement about risk. And to finance the resulting massive losses – which were over $10 trillion in the U.S. alone – the world’s central banks began printing money – since when they have never stopped! Thus begun the era in the West where deep problems are not solved, but simply have freshly-printed money thrown at them. This methodology was whole-heartedly adopted by the EU also, where it was called Merkelism (after the former German Chancellor). Underlying structural contradictions were simply left to accumulate; kicked down the road.

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“To provide some perspective, from 2020- Q2 2022, US government debt increased over $7 trillion.”

US Economic Decline And Global Instability Part 3 (Phillyguy)

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This relationship began to transform in the mid-1970s, as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, the proximate cause being the 1973-1975 recession [3], a consequence of increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe- primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) [4], Japan/South Korea (Korean war) and more recently China. The US ruling elite responded to this economic challenge by pursing neoliberal economic policies (reviewed in [1]).

This included: 1) multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, 2) financial deregulation- repeal of Glass–Steagall legislation (1933 Banking Act) by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) in 1999 and Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000, that exempted over-the-counter derivatives trades between financial firms from regulation. It should be noted that both of these bills were passed during the waning years of the Clinton Administration and may have been a quid pro quo to spare President Clinton an impeachment conviction over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky [5]. 3) attacks on labor and the poor and job outsourcing to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms, facilitated by passage of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 [6].

The effect of these policies is vividly observed in the manufacturing sector. In 1960 the US produced 50% of global manufacturing output, accounting for 25% of GDP. Today, the US produces circa 17% of global manufacturing output, accounting for 11% of GDP [7]. 4) Spending vast amounts of taxpayer money (> $20 trillion) on post-911 militarization. The neoliberal economic policies outlined above precipitated the Global Financial Crisis 2007-2008 (GFC), the largest financial crash since the Great Depression [8] [9] [10]. None of the structural economic problems giving rise to the GFC (listed above) have been resolved; instead, the FED has used the US Treasury as a taxpayer-funded ‘piggy bank’ (the FED cannot print money) to pump over $40 trillion (this figure may be as high as $50 trillion) to support insolvent banks, inflate bond and equity markets and over-priced real estate, creating the ‘everything bubble’ [11].

Thus, since 2009, the US ‘economy’ has been sustained by continuous money printing to prop up financial markets and the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, this has been accompanied by an explosion of debt and rising inflation, further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian energy, which has led to demands for even more money to support financial markets and the Pentagon. To provide some perspective, from 2020- Q2 2022, US government debt increased over $7 trillion [12].

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Must read history lesson.

Russia’s New Regions On Collision Course With Ukraine 100 Years Ago (Nepogodin)

When four formerly Ukrainian regions joined Russia nearly a month ago, the collective West tried to present the occurrence as treacherous, unprecedented, and lacking local support. However, the reunification was preceded by a century-long struggle by a large amount of the regions’ inhabitants for the right to be considered Russians. In February 2015, the deputies of the parliament of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) signed a memorandum declaring the continuity of their statehood from the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic, one of the numerous entities that emerged during the Russian Civil War. This quasi-state, which was created by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and aspired to become part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), included not only Donbass, but also the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions.


History may zigzag, but time puts everything in its place. Today, Russian Donbass is restoring lost ties with Russia and establishing new ones,” wrote Denis Pushilin, the head of the DPR, shortly before the start of Russia’s military offensive. In this article, RT explores the brief history of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic and explains why the residents of Donbass wanted to live as part of Russia even 100 years ago. Back in 1999, the famous Russian political geographer and theorist Vladimir Kagansky wrote a large article entitled ‘Ukraine: Geography and Fate of the Country’, in which he made a forecast: Ukraine will inevitably transform, and this transformation mainly depends on Russia. He concluded that its self-determination would inevitably be anti-Russian, citing the country’s “stretchable borders” as one of the main reasons. At a minimum, this would encompass just the right bank of the Dnieper, or even Galicia alone.

At a maximum, the borders would stretch to the southern Russian cities of Voronezh and Stavropol. “The USSR and the CIS are a semi-empire of republics around Russia, and Ukraine is the main link in this necklace, a geopolitical pendant. Ukraine divides the space of the former USSR into separate, geographically separated blocks, and connects three blocks (Belarus and the Baltic States – Moldova – the Caucasus). Ukraine is the only alternative to Russia as the center of the current CIS and the entire post-Soviet space. It is the only way to potentially bypass Russia – the main anti-Russian bastion, and Russia’s main partner in the arrangement of this space,” wrote Kagansky.

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Inflation As A Prelude To War

 

 

Rogan The Shining

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 312022
 


Paul Gauguin Huts under trees 1887

 

Kremlin Outlines Why Solo Negotiations With Ukraine Are ‘Impossible’ (RT)
Kremlin Reveals Possible Basis For Putin-Biden Talks (RT)
New Details On Drone Attack In Crimea Emerge (RT)
Washington Seeking To Weaken EU – Moscow (RT)
Left-Wing Lula Narrowly Wins Brazilian Presidency (ZH)
Russia and China Can Shatter Dollar Dominance – Chinese Diplomat (RT)
Bad Economics Leads To Bad Outcomes (Denninger)
German Official Offers Controversial Solution To Gas Crisis (RT)
Chip Shortage Drives Toyota Back To Basics (RT)
Credit Suisse To Axe Thousands Of Jobs (RT)
Medical Boards Strip Dr. Peter McCullough’s Medical Credentials (GP)
Scottish Blueberry Farmer Donates ‘Unviable’ Crop To Charity (Y!)
Common Medications You Shouldn’t Be On For Long (Mercola)

 

 

Europe has wintertime, the US does not. I’m in Europe, 70% of readers are in US. Great. Screws me up every single time. Failproof.

 

 

“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.”
~ Carl Jung

 

 

 

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

Safe and effective

 

 

 

 

 

 

US. Zelensky cannot speak for himself.

Kremlin Outlines Why Solo Negotiations With Ukraine Are ‘Impossible’ (RT)

Russia is open to negotiations over Ukraine, but any agreement with Kiev would have little credibility because it could be rescinded by the West, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday. This means that any possible settlement should be primarily discussed with the US, he added. Any unilateral diplomatic engagement with Ukraine is unlikely to succeed because “the deciding vote rests with Washington,” the spokesman told Rossiya-1 TV channel. “It’s just impossible to discuss something, for example, with Kiev,” he stated. According to Peskov, while Russia could try to reach some agreements with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, “based on what happened in March, these agreements are worthless, because they can be instantly canceled upon orders” from outside actors.

The Kremlin press secretary was referring to several rounds of talks that took place in late February and March after Russia launched its military operation against the neighboring state. At the time, these diplomatic efforts failed to cease hostilities. Meanwhile, Peskov signaled that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for talks over Ukraine. “The president has repeatedly said he is open to the negotiation process… Whether they are ready or not, but the West should know and hear this,”Peskov reiterated. The official also suggested that Putin and US President Joe Biden could hold negotiations if Washington is willing to take heed of Moscow’s security concerns that were outlined by the Russian Foreign Ministry in the draft documents on security guarantees released in mid-December last year prior to the Ukraine conflict.

Earlier this month, Zelensky signed a decree on Ukraine officially rejecting peace talks with the Russian president. The move came just hours after Putin signed agreements on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions joining Russia following referendums that saw overwhelming public support for the move. At the time, Moscow maintained that it is still ready to look for a negotiated solution to the conflict, adding, however, that “it takes two parties to negotiate.”

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Moscow’s security concerns. Which were completely ignored a year ago. What are the odds that now they will not be?

Kremlin Reveals Possible Basis For Putin-Biden Talks (RT)

Potential talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden would depend on Washington’s willingness to hear Moscow’s security concerns, the Kremlin press secretary said on Sunday. Speaking to the Rossiya-1 TV channel, Dmitry Peskov said high-level re-engagement could happen if the United States “pays heed to our concerns.” It would be contingent on “the US desire to go back to the state of things as of December-January and ask the question: what the Russians are offering may not suit all of us, but maybe we should still sit down with them at the negotiating table?” The spokesman explained that he was referring to the draft documents on security guarantees that Moscow submitted to both Brussels and Washington before the Ukraine conflict broke out in late February. In mid-December last year, the Russian Foreign Ministry published the drafts of two treaties – one with the US and one with NATO – with a list of Moscow’s security demands, in a bid to lower tensions in Europe.


At the time, Russia wanted the West to ban Ukraine from entering NATO and limit the deployment of troops and weapons on the bloc’s eastern flank. It also insisted that the military alliance retreat to its borders as of 1997, before it expanded eastwards. While neither the US nor NATO gave written responses to Russia’s proposals, they both rebuffed Moscow’s demand that Ukraine should be barred from the bloc. Earlier this month, Putin said he saw no need for talks with his US counterpart, explaining that “there is no platform for any negotiations yet.” The statement was echoed by the White House, which stated that Joe Biden does not plan to meet with the Russian leader at the G20 summit next month, despite earlier refusing to rule out the possibility. The last time the two leaders met in person was in June 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. The talks were followed up by a virtual summit in December, with Ukraine being one of the topics on the agenda.

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It was the grain corridor all along. And now: “The Coordination Center reported that Kiev, Ankara and the UN agreed on the movement of 14 vessels in the Black Sea tomorrow from Odessa as part of the “Black Sea initiative”, Russia was notified..”

Russia will demand to inspect all 14 vessels.

New Details On Drone Attack In Crimea Emerge (RT)

Those behind a major drone attack on the Russian naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol made active use of a UN-brokered Black Sea grain corridor, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement after studying the wreckage of the unmanned combat vehicles. The ministry’s specialists retrieved the navigational modules of the drones destroyed by the Russian warships and naval aviation, the statement said, adding that the Canadian-made devices stored data on the vehicles’ path to their target. Most of them were launched from the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, not far from the port city of Odessa, the Russian military said. “The naval drones were then moving within the security zone of the grain corridor before changing course and heading towards the Russian naval base in Sevastopol,” the statement said.

Navigational data from at least one naval drone shows that it was launched from a sea location within the grain corridor security zone, the ministry added. According to Russian specialists, it might have been launched from a civilian vessel chartered by Ukraine or its “western backers” to transport Ukrainian agricultural produce. Saturday’s assault, which involved nine aerial and seven naval drones, targeted vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet docked in Sevastopol. It was repelled, with just one ship suffering minor damage, according to the ministry. According to Moscow, the Russian ships that were targeted by the Ukrainian drones had been involved in providing security for the “grain corridor,” which was set up to allow exports of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea as part of a deal negotiated in Istanbul between Moscow and Kiev with UN and Turkish mediation this summer.

The attack prompted Russia to indefinitely suspend its participation in the deal, a move that has sparked an angry reaction from the US. Russia blamed Kiev for the attack, which it claimed was “carried out under the supervision of British experts.” Kiev has been reluctant to claim responsibility for the assault. Andrey Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office, took to Telegram to accuse Russia of “making up terrorist acts at its facilities.” On Sunday, the New York Times reported that it was Ukrainian forces that launched Saturday’s attack, citing an unnamed Ukrainian official.

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“..this would inevitably lead to the “deindustrialization” of the EU which, in turn, will have “very, very deplorable consequences” for the bloc “over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Washington Seeking To Weaken EU – Moscow (RT)

The United States is aiming to weaken the EU, both militarily and economically, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. Europeans are already suffering from anti-Russia sanctions “many times more than the US,” he said in an interview published on Sunday. “There is a growing number of economists, not only in our country, but also in the West, who come to a conclusion that the US goal is to completely ‘bleed’ and deindustrialize the European economy,” he said. “It is also in Washington’s interests to weaken Europe militarily. To constantly keep it under pressure, to force it to pump weapons into Ukraine, and in return fill the EU countries’ arms depots with American supplies,” Lavrov said. In pursuing such a policy, Washington has been guided by “economic, purely selfish calculations, as well as by ideological complexes of superiority,” he suggested.


Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Americans were making “crazy money” by selling gas to European states at exorbitant prices against a backdrop of EU sanctions on Russian energy supplies. He said this would inevitably lead to the “deindustrialization” of the EU which, in turn, will have “very, very deplorable consequences” for the bloc “over the next 10 to 20 years.” In the wake of sweeping sanctions the EU imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, gas prices have surged. The bloc is now struggling with the prospect of energy shortages in winter and soaring inflation. Brussels has largely followed Washington’s stance of seeking to weaken Moscow by imposing sanctions, while supporting Kiev through weapons supplies and financial aid.

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“Lula’s bench of leftwing allies will occupy less than about a quarter of seats in the lower house..”

Left-Wing Lula Narrowly Wins Brazilian Presidency (ZH)

By an extremely narrow margin of less than two percentage points, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) has beaten incumbent Jair Bolsanaro to become Brazil’s next president. The tight result tops off a dramatic comeback for the 77 year-old opposition leader, who served two terms as president between 2003 and 2010 but subsequently was accused of corruption and served time in prison for graft before his convictions were annulled. This result is historic as it marks the first time a sitting president in Brazil has lost a re-election bid. Echoing the Biden administration’s narratives, Lula focused on the risks to democracy from Bolsonaro’s far-right movement, framing the election as a choice between “democracy and fascism, democracy and barbarism.”

Additionally, the far-left leader pledged to reduce inequality and protect the environment while preserving the country’s fiscal health (but caused consternation among some by offering few details on his broader economic agenda and refusing to nominate a finance minister). “Lula’s challenge of governing is bigger than that of winning the election. Brazilian society needs to be rebuilt in its institutional and fiscal basis,” said Carolina Botelho, a political scientist with the Institute of Advanced Studies at Sao Paulo University.“Lula will need to recover the internal and external trust of financial agents and civil society. ”Amid extremely high interest rates and inflation, his plan to move away from the free market vision of the Bolsonaro administration to a model that puts the state at the heart of the economy will be a key focus for investors globally. Crucially, as The FT reports, Lula remains a deeply polarising figure and is also likely to face obstacles in Congress, which is broadly right-leaning.


Lula’s bench of leftwing allies will occupy less than about a quarter of seats in the lower house, meaning he will need to make concessions to pursue his agenda. Bolsonaro allies will also occupy key governorships, including São Paulo – Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state – which was won on Sunday by Tarcísio de Freitas of the rightwing Republican party.Finally, it took just minutes for President Biden to send his congratulations to the Workers’ Party leader on his success in “free, fair, and credible elections.” We wonder if the US president would have been so fast to congratulate Bolsonaro if the vote count was so close but the other way? (In the run-up to the election, Bolsonaro had persistently claimed Brazil’s electronic ballot machines were vulnerable to fraud, leading opponents to fear he was preparing a justification to reject a losing result.)

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You need the BRICS and Saudi Arabia (OPEC+).

Russia and China Can Shatter Dollar Dominance – Chinese Diplomat (RT)

The transition to trade in national currencies between Russia and China will contribute to a global de-dollarization process, China’s Charge d’Affaires in Russia said this week at a conference on the matter. “The existing economic partnership between China and Russia and the long-term accumulated level of trade have laid a solid foundation for further deepening cooperation between our countries,” Sun Weidong said, noting that bilateral trade has risen dramatically, mostly on energy and agriculture supplies. “Energy cooperation continues to play an important role in relations between the two countries, in addition, agricultural products and seafood from Russia are increasingly entering the Chinese market,” the diplomat said.


“We have cooperation on major projects in the field of nuclear energy, aircraft construction, rocket engines, satellite navigation… In addition, payments are constantly being made in local currencies.” Russia and its trading partners have been expanding the share of national currencies in mutual settlements in an attempt to move away from the US dollar and the euro. In recent years, Moscow has been steadily following a policy of de-dollarization of foreign trade, particularly expanding the use of Chinese currency for buying financial products denominated in yuan, and using it as a reserve currency. Trade between the two nations hit $136 billion in the first nine months of this year, jumping by over 30% in annual terms, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Moscow and Beijing aim to increase bilateral trade to a $200 billion target this year.

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“Every advancement in human history over the last couple of hundred years rests on the exploitation of carbon-based energy..”

Bad Economics Leads To Bad Outcomes (Denninger)

Now how about NY? A court there ruled that all of the fired employees who refused to take the jab must be reinstated and are entitled to all back pay and benefits for the time they were out. This applies to about 1,200 people. Again, this decision took over a year from when the mandates were put in place and in this case while money damages are certainly a “fix” for the terminated employees how about those who took the jab under duress and got screwed, such as having heart damage which we now know happens in some degree to everyone who takes it or worse, had a heart attack, stroke or even died? Obviously money damages do not fix any of that, especially the last one. Yet it was clear that the original mandate was predicated on fraud.

The CEOs of the companies who make the stuff have so-admitted in that they have now stated they knew the original trials back in the fall of 2020 did not demonstrate, and were not designed to demonstrate, that the jab actually would or could protect anyone other than the person who got it. Deborah Birx has admitted this as well and that she, and thus the entire Covid response force in the Federal Government, knew this before the shots began. Again, irrespective of whether you believe a state, locality, or the Federal Government has the power to issue such a mandate in the general case in this case all involved parties deliberately lied about the predicate requirements for such a mandate. Specifically all power of quarantine and related police power, whether at a local, state or federal level, is inherently about protecting other people and rests on that premise.

If no protection of others is possible then no mandate stands on a Constitutional basis. You can no more mandate that I take care of my health with a jab than you can mandate how many calories or what sort of calories I consume. This was done intentionally, with knowledge that it was unconstitutional, and there is no recourse in the law after the fact for those who were materially harmed or killed as a consequence. The same is true for DACA. Obama admitted this at the time and now it has been so-ruled because it was not created through Congressional action as is required, but rather by Obama’s “pen.” There is nothing to defend because legally it is constitutional infirm and thus never occurred but, so far, the courts have recognized that by requiring as long as it did to get heard and ruled this way, now several times in fact including during Trump’s Presidency, ten years from when Obama did so it has created a set of circumstances that they’ve been unwilling to unwind. Thus an illegal order stands today despite being acknowledged by the government itself as illegal.

How about the CDC and their “rent moratorium”? Same deal. Yet the small landlord was screwed and, quite possibly, has no legitimate recourse, particularly if he or she was forced out of business or forced to sell in the interim. Money does not make them whole. We’re headed for another one, much worse, with carbon-based fuels. As I pointed out repeatedly no CEO will invest in something that they have been told by the government will be made worthless before it can return a profit. In fact to so-invest would be fraud upon the shareholders and, to the extent money was borrowed, upon the lenders as well. This is now confirmed; the refineries that were shut down will not be restarted. Is that action by the Executive legal? No, it is not. And while it might be Constitutional if initiated by Congress through formal legislation that’s not what’s happened here in the main.

Let me be clear: This last example has the potential to return the American people to a lifestyle akin to that of the 1700s if not before. That’s not hyperbole or a joke — its real, and those who poo-poo it are wrong. Every advancement in human history over the last couple of hundred years rests on the exploitation of carbon-based energy and there is no evidence of any kind that it can be successfully replaced. Even my preferred path forward for energy, which involves nuclear power, still exploits carbon-based fuels because in order for society to continue to function you have to. Simply put the Laws of Thermodynamics are not suggestions and cannot be repealed or circumvented; they are facts.

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Fracking in Germany just so you can send weapons to Ukraine? What’s next?

German Official Offers Controversial Solution To Gas Crisis (RT)

Germany should study the issue of producing domestic shale gas using fracking, which is currently prohibited in the country, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in an interview with the Funke media group, as quoted by TASS. The technology allows oil and gas to be extracted from shale rock by breaking it up with pressurized liquid, including water and chemicals. The technique has been used in Germany since the 1960s to extract natural gas from conventional reserves, including sandstone and carbonate stones. About one third of the natural gas produced in the country comes from reserves tapped by fracking. However, “unconventional fracking” in shale and coal seams, which uses horizontal drilling techniques, was placed under moratorium in 2011, and then largely banned in Germany due to environmental risks such as water pollution, or even earthquakes.

“We have significant gas deposits in Germany that can be extracted without endangering drinking water,” Lindner said. “It would be rather irresponsible to refrain from fracking because of ideological commitments.” According to the official, production is possible “at several” fields, with Germany able to meet relatively large needs from its own sources, which would be useful in light of the situation across the world. The call comes amid an unprecedented energy crisis resulting from a reduction in energy imports from Russia, formerly the bloc’s biggest supplier. The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an all-out sanctions war against Moscow, targeting commodities including oil and gas, and contributing to soaring energy prices in the EU and worldwide.

In April, German Vice-Chancellor and Energy Minister Robert Habeck rejected the idea of extracting shale gas in Germany by fracking due to environmental concerns. He stressed that it would take years before it would be possible to obtain the necessary permits and establish production using the method.

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This is getting serious…

Chip Shortage Drives Toyota Back To Basics (RT)

Toyota customers in Japan will get a mechanical key instead of a “smart” one when they get their new vehicle, Reuters reported on Thursday. One of the two electronic “smart” keys will be replaced with a basic one, the agency explained, quoting the carmaker’s statement. “As the shortage of semiconductors continues, this is a provisional measure aimed at delivering cars to customers as quickly as possible,” Toyota said. A second smart key will be handed over “as soon as it is ready,” the statement adds. The global chip shortage that started during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe supply issues and delays with the automotive and other industries.

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“The offloading of the asset has further raised investor concerns about the bank’s financial health.”

Credit Suisse To Axe Thousands Of Jobs (RT)

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse on Thursday announced plans to slash 9,000 jobs and sell off its deal-making unit. The announcement follows a series of scandals and billions in losses. According to the bank, it is cutting 2,700 jobs in the final quarter of 2022 and will reduce employee numbers by 9,000 by the end of 2025. This is around 17% of the company’s workforce of 52,000. The bank will raise around $4 billion in fresh capital to fund the overhaul. Credit Suisse will also revive its First Boston name — the US-based investment bank it acquired in 1990 — as it separates its deal-making unit from the rest of the investment bank.


The overhaul is an urgent attempt to restore credibility at Credit Suisse. The bank racked up billions of dollars in losses from the 2021 collapse of hedge fund Archegos and financial services firm Greensill. This, along with the bank’s management chaos, shattered its status as one of Europe’s most prestigious lenders. Credit Suisse has since reshuffled its management team, suspended share buybacks and cut dividend payments. Earlier this month, the embattled lender said it was selling the landmark five-star Savoy Hotel in Zurich’s financial district for as much as 400 million Swiss francs ($404 million). The offloading of the asset has further raised investor concerns about the bank’s financial health.

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Interesting that his views are quite moderate.

Medical Boards Strip Dr. Peter McCullough’s Medical Credentials (GP)

One of the most respected doctors in the world and top cardiologists and epidemiologist in the country had his license revoked for speaking the truth about the danger of COVID vaccines. Dr. McCullough is an Internist, Cardiologist, and Epidemiologist who testified to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in November 2020. Dr. McCullough is a cardiologist and was vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and a professor at Texas A&M University. McCullough is editor-in-chief of the journals Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine and Cardiorenal Medicine. He was and is an advocate for early COVID-19 treatment that included hydroxychloroquine. He’s been right about everything throughout the pandemic.

He is one of the first doctors who sounded the alarm on the Covid-19 vaccines and explained how they all make the dangerous Wuhan spike protein.“It’s alarming right now – we have had over 4400 deaths and 14,000 hospitalizations….That is probably only the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. McCullough said in an interview with Rose Unplugged on 1320 AM WJAS. He said pregnant women, women of child-bearing years, children or healthy people under 50 should not get the Covid jab. Dr. McCullough explained how all Covid-19 vaccines produce the dangerous Wuhan spike protein and what that does to a person’s body. He added that Covid-19 vaccines have become a social menace and explained how it has been “socially weaponized.”

According to McCullough, the Covid-19 pandemic was premeditated by public health officials working in tandem with medical elites, and the evidence for this had been made clear well before the first reports of a Covid outbreak in late 2019, during an interview with Joe Rogan. In order to promote mass adoption of the experimental vaccine, McCullough says health officials purposefully suppressed treatments and refrained from compiling a treatment protocol to combat the virus, in hopes that people would be so afraid that they would just take the jab.

[..]”I was terminated as the Editor-In-Chief of Cardiorenal Medicine and Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine after years of service and rising impact factors. There was no phone call, no board meeting, no due process. Just e-mails or certified letters. Powerful dark forces are working in academic medicine to expunge any resistance to the vax. Yesterday I was stripped of my board certifications in Internal Medicine and Cardiology after decades of perfect clinical performance, board scores, and hundreds of peer reviewed publications. None of this will stop until there is a “needle in every arm.”

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“Retailers are unwilling to pay a premium for Scottish produce as shoppers target bargains during the cost-of-living squeeze..”

Scottish Blueberry Farmer Donates ‘Unviable’ Crop To Charity (Y!)

A Scottish farmer is giving away his entire crop of blueberries, worth £2 million, to charity, saying cheap imports and high labour costs have made harvesting the fruit economically unviable. Peter Thomson has been growing blueberries at his farm in Blairgowrie, northeast Scotland, for more than four decades, producing 300 tonnes of fruit per year. But now, he said, growers in Peru and South Africa can sell their berries in the UK at a far lower price, while a shortage of pickers caused by Brexit has made the harvest unviable. “They’ve started planting huge areas of blueberries in the subtropics like Peru and South Africa,” said Thomson, who started growing blueberries in 1976. “Their costs of production are so low that we can’t compete.”


Normally, said Thomson, 200 workers would have picked around 300 tonnes of blueberries this year with 50 more working in the packhouse. In 2014, the price paid to Scottish farmers for blueberries was £17.50 per kilo, he said. Today however, supermarkets pay less than £7. Labour costs meanwhile have risen from £7 an hour five years ago to £10.10 today, even before state pension contributions and holiday pay are taken into account. This meant that the value of crop of berries, which would once have been worth £3 million or more, fell to £2 million this year. Retailers are unwilling to pay a premium for Scottish produce as shoppers target bargains during the cost-of-living squeeze, Thomson said.

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YIKES!: “..6 out of every 10 adults have at least one chronic health condition and 4 out of every 10 have two or more…”

Common Medications You Shouldn’t Be On For Long (Mercola)

Global pharmaceutical sales rose from $780 billion in 2010 to $1.186 trillion in 2021.(1) In that same period, the U.S. market increased from $315 billion to $555 billion. In other words, the U.S. market was nearly 50 percent of world market sales. When drug sales were compared, the leading pharmaceutical product in 2021 was the COVID-19 vaccine, which generated $37 billion in revenue. When compared to other large companies, the profitability of the pharmaceutical industry is significantly greater than other public companies.(2) In other words, the pharmaceutical industry is big business. They make money when you buy medication and stay on it for the long term. However, there are several drugs that were designed to be taken short-term, but have become long-term staples in the medicine cabinet.

Research published in July 2022 revealed a dramatic rise in adverse drug reactions in the U.K.(3) Many of these were related to the high number of medications prescribed to the participants. Overprescribing is known as “polypharmacy,” which has been a growing problem over the last decade as the pharmaceutical industry develops new drugs with the inferred intent of lengthening life through chemistry. However, as is seen in revenue reports and research into the negative consequences, it appears the goal is growing revenue. If it were better health, the first recommendation would be lifestyle changes in collaboration with established support systems to help you make those changes. Instead, the first step is often a simple prescription, which may come with complicated side effects.

Growing Problem With Polypharmacy. Data (4,5) demonstrate that between 80 percent and 89 percent of adults aged 65 and older take at least one prescribed medication and 54 percent take four or more. Adverse effects are common and often drive patients to seek other drugs to control the side effects of the first drug. Polypharmacy, or using multiple medications, is more common in older adults who have several risk factors and chronic health conditions that can lead to overprescribing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,(6) 6 out of every 10 adults have at least one chronic health condition and 4 out of every 10 have two or more.

Prescription medications are not the only type of drug that can cause challenges with polypharmacy. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are those you can buy without a prescription. Drugstore shelves are lined with pain medications, allergy relief, cold preparations, and remedies for gastrointestinal issues. While you can purchase them without a prescription, OTC drugs can have the same types of drug interactions with prescriptions or other OTC medications. As you consider whether you are taking too many drugs, it is also important to remember that some medications were designed to be taken for the short term and long-term use can lead to their own set of problems.

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The Americans Are ITCHING To Fight The Russians

 

 

Why NATO Attacked Crimea (hint, the G20 Summit)

 

 

 

 


Quokka

 

 


Halloween Cat on the Prowl, Strasbourg, France

 

 

Can’t always

 

 

 

 

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Aug 072022
 
 August 7, 2022  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Edward Hopper Ground swell 1939

 

Vaccine Deaths Outnumber Covid Deaths in US Households (DS)
Russian MIL Declares Ukraine Origin of C19 (Clandestine)
US Prepares New Weapons Package For Ukraine (RT)
Pentagon Chiefs’ Calls To China Go Unanswered Amid Taiwan Crisis (Pol.)
Erdogan’s Diplomacy With Russia Alarms West – FT (RT)
Putin Says EU Should Thank Turkey (RT)
100s Of New Mines Required To Meet 2030 Battery Metals Demand — IEA (Mining)
Sanctions On Russia ‘Irresponsible’, Adviser To Brazil’s Lula Says (RT)
Elon Musk Accuses Twitter of Fraud: Countersuit (ET)
Elon Musk Says He Will Buy Twitter On One Condition (RT)
VP Joe Biden Met With Two Chinese Energy Execs In The West Wing (DM)
EDF Cuts Output At Nuclear Power Plants As French Rivers Get Too Warm (G.)
China’s July Coal Imports Surge 24% To Meet Peak Power Load (R.)

 

 

 

 

Roger Waters
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555989512353890304

 

 

 

 

MacGregor China
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555974674357440512

 

 

 

 

Haditsch

 

 

BREAKING: Alex Jones has been ordered to pay an extra $45 million in punitive damages by a Texas Jury.


Robert Barnes @barnes_law: By law in Texas, this is reduced to $750K per plaintiff, so it’s actually $1.5M not $45M. Also, like everything else in the trial, a product of a court that denied Jones any evidence on his side or any witnesses at this stage, and should be set aside by Texas Supremes.

 

 

 

 

Based on Steve Kirsch studies/polls. How can you justify a mandate is the vaccines kill more people than the disease they “protect” from?

Vaccine Deaths Outnumber Covid Deaths in US Households (DS)

Polls of the U.S. public continue to show that up to twice as many Americans have lost a household member to a Covid vaccine injury as have lost one to Covid. The pooled results of five surveys of the American public, now totalling over 2,500 people, show that while 4.4% of respondents reported that someone in their household had died from COVID-19, 8.9% said someone had died as a result of Covid vaccination. The results also showed that 8.6% said they had been injured by their vaccination, 4.9% that they had sought medical help and 3.2% that they had been hospitalised, while 3.6% said that as a result of vaccination they were no longer able to work a full day or at all.

These are percentages of all respondents. If we look only at the 74.0% vaccinated with at least one dose then the figures, as a proportion of vaccinated persons, are 11.7% injured, 6.7% needing medical help, 4.4% hospitalised and 4.8% unable to work. While these figures are self-reported and there is no control group, since the unvaccinated were not asked about adverse events, they are still alarmingly high. The results also showed that, among those who reported a Covid death in their household, more than twice as many reported that it occurred after the person was vaccinated than before (2.8% vs 1.2%). The proportion who said they had contracted Covid before their vaccination (13.1%) was very similar to the proportion who said they contracted it afterwards (11.7%). These figures are not indicative of a highly effective vaccine against either infection or death.

The people polled were randomly selected, representative samples of the U.S. public, of whom 74.0% were vaccinated, so the samples were not inherently biased towards or against the reporting of vaccine problems, though as in all opinion polls (especially online ones) there may be an issue of self-selection bias.

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FYI

Russian MIL Declares Ukraine Origin of C19 (Clandestine)

New briefing from Chief of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces, General Igor Kirillov, on military biological activities of the United States in the territory of Ukraine. The Russian MIL have been studying biological samples from surrendered Ukrainian soldiers, and what they have been finding is beyond disturbing. Approximately 20% of them carrying West Nile pathogens, which were being studied “by the Pentagon as part of the Ukrainian UP-4 and UP-8 projects”. Suggesting that Ukrainian soldiers are being subject to involuntary biological experimentation and exposure to biological weapons (think Nuremberg). In addition to carrying pathogens, nearly all of the surrendered Ukrainian soldiers carried traces of a wide variety of narcotics and opioids, including Meth and Codeine.

Russia were sure to remind us of the Nazi’s usage of methamphetamines in WW2. I covered this 2 weeks ago, when the left-wing media tried to spin this reality as some sort of X-men mutant conspiracy theory. No, they are just Nazis, and historically, Nazis use drugs. Particularly as an advantage in war. Russia goes on to cite that this methamphetamine Ukraine are using, Pervitin, was also used by US soldiers during Vietnam and Korea. It’s designed to reduce the psycho-emotional burdens of war. However, an intended side effect is excessive aggression, which Russia alleges is one of the main factors for the Nationalist Ukrainian forces displaying “extreme cruelty” to civilians and the shelling of their own people in Donbas. Ukraine are using mind-numbing agents on their forces to make them more susceptible to carrying out heinous acts.

Next, we find perhaps the most explosive slide to date, in which Russia FINALLY comes out and DIRECTLY accuses the US of being responsible for the creation and release of Covid-19. What I have been saying from the beginning, is that this all leads to C-19, which will be the nail in the coffin and the red-pill that wakes up the world. The backlash the US are facing from Russia and the rest of Eastern world, is directly because the world found out THE UNITED STATES CREATED COVID. Specifically the “DNC/Liberal Globalists”, as the Russians allege. Not Trump. Russia clarifies they have record of over 16,000 biological samples, including blood and serum samples, transported from Ukraine to the US, Georgia, European countries.

[..] In conclusion, Russia have now DIRECTLY accused the DNC Globalists of: -creating and releasing new variants of Coronaviruses, and now Monkeypox, intentionally, for the purposes of political control and world domination. -using non-consensual experimentation on citizens of the world to create genome specific biological weapons for ethnic cleansing. -creation and usage of narcotics, such as methamphetamines, on Ukrainian forces to dehumanize them in order to carry out heinous crimes against humanity on civilians in Ukraine. Russia just confirmed my overall narrative; that the war in Ukraine is backlash for the Deep State’s creation and usage of C19. We are already in WW3 and C19 was the first weapon fired. The fact that Russia have now come out and openly called this spade a spade… suggests we are approaching the finish line. Russia claims final dossier will be complete in “Autumn”.

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Another $700 million straight down the drain.

US Prepares New Weapons Package For Ukraine (RT)

The US government is reportedly preparing its largest weapons transfer to Ukraine to date, with officials ready to authorize another $1 billion in military aid, including advanced rocket and missile platforms and additional ammunition. The new aid package could be announced as soon as next week, Reuters reported on Friday, citing three unnamed officials. It would bring the total US security assistance to Kiev to nearly $10 billion since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. While the officials said President Joe Biden has yet to formally sign off on the transfer, the current proposal would see $1 billion in arms shipped to Kiev, including additional munitions for the HIMARS rocket system, NASAMS surface-to-air missiles, and up to 50 M113 armored personnel carriers, allegedly the ‘medical’ variant.


A separate military aid package to Ukraine was announced on Monday, worth around $550 million, and also featured HIMARS rockets. Washington has so far sent a total of 16 HIMARS systems to Ukraine, longer-range platforms capable of striking targets inside Russian territory. Though Moscow has claimed to have eliminated some of the weapons from the battlefield, US military officials have disputed the Russian account, insisting Kiev’s HIMARS remain intact. The new massive arms transfer also comes after a Pentagon decision to allow US military personnel to treat wounded Ukrainian troops at a large US-run hospital in western Germany, though the logistics for that arrangement remain unclear, as the facility is more than 1,000 miles away from Ukraine’s capital and even further from active battle zones in the Donbass region.

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Thanks Nancy.

Pentagon Chiefs’ Calls To China Go Unanswered Amid Taiwan Crisis (Pol.)

Top Chinese military officials have not returned multiple calls from their American counterparts this week as a crisis erupted in the Pacific over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, according to three people with knowledge of the attempts. Beijing’s ghosting of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley comes as China continues launching missiles and positioning warships and aircraft in unprecedented military drills around Taiwan. Officials and experts say China’s silence is a shortsighted and reckless move that increases the risk of escalation in an already tense situation.

“If the [Chinese military] is operating more aggressively, and in closer proximity to U.S. forces with greater frequency, we’d need these mechanisms even more to promote a safe operating environment,” said Randy Schriver, who served as the top Pentagon official for Asia policy in the Trump administration. U.S. military leaders strive to maintain open lines of communication even with potential adversaries such as China to prevent accidents and other miscalculations that could turn into a full-blown conflict. But the last call Milley had with his Chinese counterpart, Chief of the Joint Staff Gen. Li Zuocheng, was on July 7, the Pentagon said. The two spoke by secure video teleconference about the need to maintain open lines of communication, as well as reducing risk, according to a readout from Milley’s office.

Austin, meanwhile, met in person with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe in June on the sideline of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. “The secretary has repeatedly emphasized the importance of fully open lines of communication with China’s defense leaders to ensure that we can avoid any miscalculations, and that remains true,” Todd Breasseale, the Pentagon’s acting press secretary, told POLITICO in an email. China on Friday announced that it was halting certain official dialogues between senior-level U.S. military commanders, including the regional commanders, as well as talks on maritime safety. The announcement does not specifically apply to Austin and Milley’s counterparts, and officials said they are still open to communication between those leaders.

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“..a NATO member since 1952 and an EU applicant since 1987..”

Erdogan’s Diplomacy With Russia Alarms West – FT (RT)

Western officials are “increasingly alarmed” that Turkey, a NATO ally and prospective EU member, is deepening its cooperation with Russia, the Financial Times has reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from Sochi vowing to boost trade after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Six unnamed Western officials told the newspaper that they were “concerned”about the plans of Russia and Turkey to cooperate on trade and energy. One EU official said that Brussels was monitoring relations between Ankara and Moscow “more and more closely,” given how Turkey seems to be “increasingly” becoming a platform for trade with Russia. Following a four-hour meeting with Putin on Friday, Erdogan welcomed Russia’s role in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

The two nations aim for bilateral trade turnover of $100 billion, and are cooperating against terrorism and toward peace in Libya and Syria. Putin pledged that Russia would supply Turkey with oil, gas and coal “without any interruptions,” after the two leaders agreed that Ankara would pay for some of this gas in rubles. Another official told the newspaper that Erdogan’s behavior is “very opportunistic,”adding that “we are trying to make the Turks pay attention to our concerns.” Although a NATO member since 1952 and an EU applicant since 1987, Turkey has broken with both blocs on several occasions, most recently over the conflict in Ukraine.

Erdogan has described his diplomacy with Kiev and Moscow as “balanced,” and has refused to sanction Russia over its military operation. Turkey is the only NATO country not to impose such penalties. Erdogan also took the opportunity to host peace talks between the countries in March, which ultimately bore no fruit. Since then, however, he has won acclaim for overseeing talks that led to the resumption of grain shipments across the Black Sea from Ukrainian ports. As the Financial Times’ article went online on Saturday, the first ship carrying Ukrainian corn arrived in Istanbul for inspection by Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian and UN officials.

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“The Turkish Stream, unlike all other routes of our hydrocarbon supplies, works properly, works smoothly, without any failures.”

Putin Says EU Should Thank Turkey (RT)

Turkey has ensured a reliable supply of Russian natural gas to Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, adding that European nations should be grateful to Ankara for that. During a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Putin named the TurkStream pipeline as one of the most important arteries for delivering Russian gas to Europe. The Russian president praised the reliability of the pipeline, for which the Europeans should be grateful. “The Turkish Stream, unlike all other routes of our hydrocarbon supplies, works properly, works smoothly, without any failures. […] I think our European partners should be grateful to Turkey for ensuring uninterrupted transit of our gas to the European market,” Putin said.


TurkStream consists of two parallel lines running under the Black Sea from Russia and joins Turkey’s gas transportation network and sends Russian gas onward to Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. The route has been unaffected by the developments around Ukraine and the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU but rejected by Turkey. The main pipeline between Russia and the EU – Nord Stream 1, which carries gas to Germany – has been operating at 20% capacity recently due to equipment issues caused by sanctions. Meanwhile, additional routes via Ukraine’s gas transportation network have been restricted by Kiev. Deliveries via the Yamal-Europe pipeline continue, although Gazprom stopped using the Polish leg of the pipeline in May due to sanctions.

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Included the Charles Vance video again. It’s good.

100s Of New Mines Required To Meet 2030 Battery Metals Demand — IEA (Mining)

Global battery and minerals supply chains need to expand ten-fold to meet projected critical minerals needs by 2030, a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found. The report concludes the industry needs to build 50 more lithium mines, 60 more nickel mines and 17 more cobalt mines by 2030 to meet global net carbon emissions goals. Pressure on the supply of critical materials will continue to mount as road transport electrification expands to meet net-zero ambitions. According to the IEA, demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries will increase from around 340 GWh today to over 3500 GWh by 2030.

“Additional investments are needed in the short-term, particularly in mining, where lead times are much longer than for other parts of the supply chain. In some cases requiring more than a decade from initial feasibility studies to production, and then several more years to reach nominal production capacity,” the report reads. The projected mineral supply until the end of the 2020s is in line with the demand for EV batteries in the ‘stated policies scenario’ of the IEA’s world energy model. But the supply of some minerals, such as lithium, would need to rise by up to one-third by 2030 to satisfy the pledges and announcements for EV batteries in the ‘announced pledges scenario (APS) of the same energy model.


“For example, demand for lithium – the commodity with the largest projected demand-supply gap – is projected to increase sixfold to 500 kilotonnes by 2030 in the APS, requiring the equivalent of 50 new average-sized mines,” according to the report. By 2030, nickel is facing the largest absolute demand increase as high-nickel chemistries are the current dominant cathode for EVs and are expected to remain so. For cobalt, the opposite is true as battery makers continue to thrift to lower cobalt content chemistries (and even potentially cobalt-free chemistries by 2030) to reduce costs and due to environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. [..] “For the Announced Pledges Scenario, 60 nickel and 17 cobalt new mines are required in 2030, (assuming average annual mine production capacity of 38,000 tonnes for nickel and 7,000 tonnes for cobalt).”

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“..if he is elected, “Brazil will again become a protagonist on the international stage and we will prove that it’s possible to have a better world.”

Sanctions On Russia ‘Irresponsible’, Adviser To Brazil’s Lula Says (RT)

Celso Amorim, Brazil’s former foreign minister and current foreign policy adviser to presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has condemned the West’s sanctions on Russia and said that should Lula take office, Brazil would chart a different course. In an interview with Bloomberg published on Friday, Amorim claimed that the West’s response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine – sanctions on Russia and billions of dollars worth of weapons for Ukraine – have made nuclear war a real possibility. “For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis we see articles about the risk of nuclear weapons published on a weekly basis,” he said, arguing that “it’s irresponsible not to seek peace.”

Amorim’s argument mirrors that of Lula himself. Back in May the former Brazilian leader toldTime magazine that he sees Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as equally responsible for the conflict in Ukraine, and condemned Washington for encouraging him to oppose Russia. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided [the conflict], not incited it,” Lula argued at the time. From the perspective of the US, Amorim questioned the logic of driving Russia into a deeper partnership with China, another economic and military rival of America. “I have nothing against China,” he stated, adding that both are part of the BRICS group, but said that he “can’t understand the interest of the US in strengthening the China-Russia relationship.”

This relationship aside, Amorim told Bloomberg that an economy as large as Russia’s is “too big and strategic” to isolate, and that Lula’s administration would not pursue such policies if the two-term leftist president is elected in October. Speaking to Time in May, Lula said that “many different countries” are having to “foot the bill” for Washington’s hardline anti-Russia policies, and that if he is elected, “Brazil will again become a protagonist on the international stage and we will prove that it’s possible to have a better world.” Lula is currently polling 11 points ahead of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, according to an aggregate compiled by the US-based Americas Society.

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Hard to read how the judge will see this.

Elon Musk Accuses Twitter of Fraud: Countersuit (ET)

Elon Musk in a countersuit has accused Twitter executives of fraudulently presenting an undercount of fake users, known as bots. Twitter in July sued Musk for withdrawing from a $44 billion acquisition agreement, alleging he breached the agreement. In the counter-filing, entered under seal last month and obtained by The Epoch Times on Aug. 5, Musk says he relied on statements from Twitter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about key components of the company, such as the percentage of fake and spam accounts and moderation practices. But once Musk entered the agreement, he found that the technology company refused to provide access to the company’s books and records to verify the information. “The more Twitter evaded even simple inquiries, the more the Musk Parties grew to suspect that Twitter had misled them,” the countersuit says.


One key statistic: 238 million monetizable daily active users (users who actually see ads on the platform and thus would be considered monetizable). But that number is an overcount because there are more false and spam accounts on the platform than Twitter says, according to the filing. There are just 173 million monetizable users and most ads are shown to less than 16 million, it says. Twitter has said under 5 percent of its users are bots. Musk, in a meeting in May, attempted to understand how Twitter reached that percentage. He “was astonished to learn just how meager Twitter’s processes were,” the countersuit says. Musk learned that human reviewers look at a sample of just 100 accounts, and that Twitter executives weren’t able to say how the accounts in the sample were selected.

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Clear that Twitter hasn’t been forthcoming with files. Less clear is if they had to.

Elon Musk Says He Will Buy Twitter On One Condition (RT)

Billionaire Elon Musk would go through with the deal to buy Twitter if the social media platform demonstrates how it checks the authenticity of user accounts, Musk wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Responding to a comment by another user, Musk said the deal to buy Twitter “should proceed on original terms” if the platform shares with him their method for sampling accounts to determine they are genuine. “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then [the deal] should not [proceed],” he continued, referring to the regulatory documents that companies must submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the sake of transparency and to provide information on operations.


Musk previously warned he would personally authenticate 100 randomly selected accounts on the platform. In April, the entrepreneur announced his intention to purchase the social media platform, of which he is an avid supporter and frequent user, for $44 billion. Then in May, Musk said he was trying to obtain information that would confirm that fake accounts and those used to send mass advertising messages on the platform comprise less than 5% of the total number of Twitter users. In early July, Musk’s lawyers notified Twitter that he no longer wished to go through with the deal because the company had failed to provide him with this information. Twitter, although initially reluctant to agree to Musk’s acquisition plans, filed a lawsuit against him on July 12 in an attempt to compel him to complete the purchase. On July 29, Musk filed a counterclaim against the company

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A new scandal every day.

VP Joe Biden Met With Two Chinese Energy Execs In The West Wing (DM)

Two Chinese businessmen with ties to Hunter Biden’s company met with Joe Biden at the White House and followed up with the VP’s son days later with a fawning email and invitation, records reveal. The meeting is the fifteenth to be uncovered between Joe and businessmen linked to Hunter. Executives for Chinese energy company Wanxiang secured a meeting with the vice president in the West Wing in July 2014 with just one day’s notice, according to White House visitor logs. A client of Hunter’s company Seneca Global Advisors partnered with Wanxiang in 2012 on a $1.25billion natural gas plant in China. The ceremony for the signing of the deal between Hunter’s client GreatPoint Energy and Wanxiang was attended by then Chinese vice president Xi Jinping.

Wanxiang is a major Chinese company, and also partnered with the North Korean state for a giant copper mine. Through his firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, Hunter also invested in a car company, Fisker, that was later bought by Wanxiang. After the company went bankrupt in 2013, Hunter was listed as a creditor on its filings. He bought one of its electric sports cars for $142,300. According to the White House visitor logs, Wanxiang America president Pin Ni met with Joe on July 25, 2014. Four days later, Ni emailed Hunter offering help servicing his Fisker sports car. ‘Last Friday when we visited DC, I heard that your Fisker is out of order and could not get serviced. Sorry,’ Ni wrote. ‘It would be our honor to get your Fisker fixed… I would like to give you a call to see what we could do as next step. ‘It would be our great honor to welcome you to visit Fisker or Wanxiang at any time.’

Joining Ni for the White House visit was Wanxiang Resources Co. president Youhong Han. Records show his meeting was at 11am and he left at 12.15pm, after scheduling the meeting with VP just the previous day. Han, 57, appears in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ offshore leaks database, with a British Virgin Islands company called Elegant Sky Investments Limited that has a registered address in Shanghai. Emails between Hunter and his business partners show them monitoring reporting around the $1.25billion Wanxiang-GreatPoint deal. Wanxiang bought Fisker in February 2014. The luxury hybrid cars it makes were bought by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.

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When it rains it pours.

EDF Cuts Output At Nuclear Power Plants As French Rivers Get Too Warm (G.)

The French energy supplier EDF is temporarily reducing output at its nuclear power stations on the Rhône and Garonne rivers as heatwaves push up river temperatures, restricting its ability to use river water to cool the plants. The majority-state-owned company, Europe’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, said it would extend output cuts at several power stations on the two rivers as the hot spell continues – but that a minimum level of output would be maintained to keep the grid steady. EDF warned of potential output cuts at its nuclear power plants Tricastin, St Alban and Golfech in coming days due to high temperatures in the Rhône and Garonne rivers. It started imposing production restrictions in mid-July at Tricastin, St Alban and Bugey on the Rhône and Blayais at the mouth of the Garonne amid sweltering temperatures.

A spokesperson told the Guardian that the company was lowering production “for a few hours” where possible but not shutting the reactors completely. After the 2003 heatwave, France’s nuclear safety authority (ASN) set temperature and river flow limits beyond which power stations must reduce their production, to ensure the water used to cool the plants will not harm wildlife when it is released back into the rivers. Temperatures in southern France are expected to reach 40C over the next two days, according to the forecaster Météo-France. Since 2000, production losses due to high river temperatures and low river flows have represented an average of 0.3% of annual production.

However, half of EDF’s 56 nuclear reactors are offline due to planned maintenance and work to repair corrosion which was delayed by the pandemic, just as Europe faces an energy crunch following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result of the maintenance work, EDF estimates its power output this year will be the lowest in more than three decades. The company issued its fourth profit warning of the year last Thursday when it reported a first-half loss of €5.3bn. The French government, which owns 84% of EDF, is in the process of buying out minority shareholders to take full control of the business.

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Maybe this happens every year?

China’s July Coal Imports Surge 24% To Meet Peak Power Load (R.)

China’s coal imports in July rose by nearly a quarter from June to near the highest levels so far this year as power generators increased purchases to provide for peak summer electricity demand. Arrivals of the fuel totaled 23.52 million tonnes last month, up sharply from 18.98 million tonnes in June but 22% lower than a year earlier, data issued by the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday. Over the first seven months of the year, China imported 138.52 million tonnes of coal, down 18% on the same period of 2021. Daily coal consumption in major coastal regions hovered around 2.2 million tonnes in late July, a similar level to last year, according to Shanghai Shipping Exchange.


A temperature spike across the country drove up the use of air conditioning. The government has vowed to avoid power rationing this year and has urged coal-burning power generators, which supply about 60% of the country’s electricity, to enlarge coal stocks. Data tracked by Refinitiv showed China’s seaborne coal imports from Russia would hit a record high of 7.38 million tonnes in July. However, analysts have expected coal demand will soon begin to ease as temperatures moderate, while industrial activity remains sluggish amid Covid-19 restrictions.

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Bill Maher: Fat celebrattion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coke Machine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1555919490017288195

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

May 052022
 


René Magritte Personal values 1952

 

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)
Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)
Return of the King (Streeck)
The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)
Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)
Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)
Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)
John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)
FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)
The Government Plays God (Whitehead)
The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)
Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

 

 

 

 

Ze 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azovstal

 

 

 

 

Well, well. The Guardian is now the bullhorn for the nazis. But Russia has denied invading the plant.

Also funny: the evacuation of citizens from the plant is being presented as another heroic act by Zelensky. But they could have left at any moment over the past 2 months. Why didn’t they? Often because the same nazis used them as human shields.

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)

Fierce fighting has continued inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the plant said, as more civilians fled the city on evacuation buses following weeks of brutal bombardment that have reduced much of it to rubble. Ukrainian forces were fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops for a second day, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, said in a brief video released on Telegram late on Wednesday. “I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” commander Denis Prokopenko said.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party in parliament, told RFE/RL that Russian forces had entered the plant, but he said that the country’s government remained in contact with the Ukrainian troops staging a last stand. The Kremlin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denied reports that Moscow’s forces were trying to storm the plant. “The order was publicly given by [Vladimir Putin] to cancel the storming,” Peskov said. “There is no storming.” Russia said its forces would cease firing at the factory on Thursday morning, and open a three-day humanitarian corridor for any civilians.


“The Russian armed forces will from 8am to 6pm (Moscow time, 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said. “During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities.”

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“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine, putting the leftist icon at odds with western powers. In an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday, the former president said it was irresponsible for western leaders to celebrate Zelenskiy because they are encouraging war instead of focusing on closed-door negotiations to stop the fighting. “I see the president of Ukraine, speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians,” Lula told the magazine. “This guy [Zelenskiy] is as responsible as Putin for the war,” he added.

Lula, who is on Time’s cover this week, is frontrunner for the October elections when he hopes to deny far-right President Jair Bolsonaro re-election and return to office after the annulment last year of corruption convictions that had put him in jail. The remarks will probably raise eyebrows in the US and Europe, which are supplying military support to Ukraine and have hit Russia with punishing sanctions over an invasion widely seen in the west as an act of unprovoked Russian aggression. Lula, 76, said Zelenskiy should have yielded to Russian opposition to Ukraine’s moves to join Nato and held negotiations with Putin to avoid a conflict.


Refering to Zelenskiy’s rise to fame as an actor and comedian, he added: “We should be having a serious conversation. OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.” The veteran leftist said Biden and European Union leaders failed to do enough to negotiate with Russia in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine in February. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

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King NATO

Return of the King (Streeck)

When kings return, they initiate a purge, to rectify the anomalies that have accumulated during their absence. Old bills are presented anew and collected, lack of loyalty revealed during the King’s absence is punished, disobedient ideas and improper memories are extirpated, and the nooks and crannies of the body politic are cleansed of the political deviants that have in the meantime populated them. Symbolic action of the McCarthy type is helpful as it spreads fear among potential dissenters. Throughout the West today, players of piano or tennis or relativity theory who happen to be from Russia and want to continue playing whatever they play are pressed to make public statements that would make their lives and those of their families back home difficult at best.

Investigative journalists discover an abyss of philanthropic donations by Russian oligarchs to music and other festivals, donations that have been welcome in the past but are now found to subvert artistic freedom, unlike of course the philanthropic donations of their Western fellow-oligarchs. Etc. Against the background of proliferating loyalty oaths, public discourse is reduced to spreading the King’s truth, and nothing but. Putin verstehen – trying to find out about motives and reasons, searching for a clue as to how one might, perhaps, negotiate an end to the bloodshed – is equated with Putin verzeihen, or forgiving; it ‘relativizes’, as the Germans put it, the atrocities of the Russian army by trying to end them with other than military means.


According to newly received wisdom, there is only one way of dealing with a madman; thinking about other ways advances his interests and therefore amounts to treason. (I remember teachers in the 1950s who let it be known to the young generation that ‘the only language the Russian understands is the language of the fist’.) Memory management is central: never mention the Minsk Accords (2014 and 2015) between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, don’t ask what became of them and why, never mind the platform of negotiated conflict settlement on which Zelensky was elected in 2019 by almost three quarters of Ukrainian voters, and forget the American response by megaphone diplomacy to Russian proposals as late as 2022 for a joint European security system. Above all, never bring up the various American ‘special operations’ of the recent past, like for example in Iraq, and in Fallujah inside Iraq (800 civilian casualties alone in a few days); doing so commits the crime of ‘whataboutism’, which in view of ‘the pictures from Bucha and Mariupol’ is morally out of bounds.

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“..the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.”

The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)

The most egregious and blatant official disinformation campaign in the U.S. took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden’s activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were “Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as “Russian disinformation,” and pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president.

The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post’s incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent. After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the “hallmarks” of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment?


This same strategic motive — to vest accusations of “disinformation” with the veneer of expertise — is what has fostered a new, very well-financed industry heralding itself as composed of “anti-disinformation” scholars. Knowing that Americans are inculcated from childhood to believe that censorship is nefarious — that it is the hallmark of tyranny — those who wish to censor need to find some ennobling rationale to justify it and disguise what it is. They have thus created a litany of neutral-sounding groups with benign names — The Atlantic Council, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, various “fact-checking” outfits controlled by corporate media outlets — that claim to employ “anti-disinformation experts” to identify and combat fake news. Just as media corporations re-branded their partisan pundits as “fact-checkers” — to masquerade their opinions as elevated, apolitical authoritative, decrees of expertise — the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.

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Elon! Help!

Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)

Several Twitter users known for questioning U.S. government COVID-19 messaging have found themselves locked out of their accounts or suspended, even as the social media company reckons with a takeover by pro-free-speech billionaire Elon Musk and advancing litigation by journalist Alex Berenson. It’s not clear whether the timing is coincidental or the last gasp of an old guard targeting so-called Team Reality before a new owner or courts force it to change direction. Twitter has ignored the vast majority of Just the News requests to explain how various sanctioned users violated its terms. The notices from Twitter, often posted by allies of the silenced users, cite violation of its policy against sharing “misleading and potentially harmful information” about COVID.

A federal judge greenlit breach-of-contract claims in Berenson’s lawsuit challenging his permanent suspension, which followed a tweet that said COVID vaccines neither stop infection nor transmission, both of which the CDC has acknowledged for several months. The former New York Times reporter said in February Twitter had quietly removed the “misleading” label from the tweet, which only he can see. The company didn’t respond to Just the News queries at the time. Berenson plausibly alleged Twitter “fail[ed] to abide by its own five-strike policy and its specific commitments” made by a PR executive directly to Berenson before his first strike, U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote April 29.


The same day Twitter permanently booted Daniel Kotzin, one of three sanctioned users jointly suing federal officials for coercing Twitter to censor purported COVID misinformation. It flagged his tweet citing “known potential side effects” of COVID vaccines, including myocarditis, “blood clots, and strokes.”

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‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized..’

Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)

Some of the most high-profile liberal figures have joined together to encourage advertisers to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk brings in his promised policy of unfettered ‘free speech.’ Twenty six NGOs and advocacy groups signed a letter expressing concern about the world’s richest man’s plan. Musk himself responded to the letter asking who funded them: the answer being an assortment of ‘dark money groups’ like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; NGOs founded by former Clinton and Obama administration staffers; wealthy Democrat donors and their family foundations; labor unions; and the governments of European nations.

‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized,’ they wrote. They warned that advertising on Twitter would see their company ‘risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.’ The authors continued: ‘Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.


‘Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account. We call on you to demand Musk uphold these basic standards of community trust and safety, and to pull your advertising spending from Twitter if they are not.’ Musk, in response to the letter, tweeted: ‘Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …’ Piqued by the critique, he added: ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ The letter signed by the 26 groups was sent on headed paper bearing the logos of Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and Ultraviolet.

Anti-Elon campaign

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They’re afraid of cancel culture.

Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)

Elon Musk is turning to an old, reliable group of financial backers to fund his $44 billion buyout of Twitter — even as talks to team up with a deep-pocketed private equity firm have stalled, The Post has learned. Sources close to the situation say Musk may be closing in on raising $10 billion in cash from equity co-investors — mostly venture capital firms who have backed his other companies including Space X. One source close to the talks declined to name the firms, but Musk’s past investors have included Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners. Musk has also turned to so-called family offices that control large pools of private money to back his Twitter bid. “He has more than $10 billion of committed equity,” one source close to the situation told The Post.

Musk is plowing ahead even as top executives at Thoma Bravo — a tech-focused buyout firm whose investments include nuts-and-bolts software firms like McAfee and Barracuda — are divided over partnering with Musk in the deal, with some fearing the bet would be too big and too risky, three sources close to the situation said. “Orlando Bravo was pushing for it,” one source close to the talks said, referring to the firm’s co-founder, a 52-year-old, Puerto Rican-born billionaire with a formidable track record among tech investors. “He spent hours talking to Elon.” On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk has been telling investors he aims to take the company public again within three years of the buyout.


As previously reported by The Post, Thoma Bravo sees an opportunity to slash costs at Twitter and was hoping to land a high-profile deal. Nevertheless, other top partners at Thoma Bravo fret that jumping into bed with Musk — who has posted a slew of sometimes bizarre tweets about his plans for Twitter, including that he plans to turn its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter — could be a disaster. “My sense is Orlando Bravo wanted to do it but one or two of his top partners don’t want to,” a second source said. Other major buyout firms including Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners also have turned Musk down altogether, a source said. Apollo Global Management, meanwhile, is only interested in providing debt financing, according to sources close to the talks.

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No go for attorney-client privilege.

John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)

Special Counsel John Durham scored two major wins on Wednesday ahead of the criminal trial for ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, as the judge ordered a key witness to testify and agreed to review memos the defense is trying to conceal with a claim of attorney-client privilege. During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper expressed skepticism that memos detailing the Fusion GPS firm’s opposition research on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia – some of which were shared with the news media and the FBI — were covered by attorney-client privilege and agreed to Durham’s request to review 38 of the documents that prosecutors want to introduce at trial later this month.

Cooper said he wasn’t convinced the Clinton campaign, Sussmann and his law firm and Fusion GPS should have blanket privilege over the documents, at one point citing a memo of Fusion’s contacts with a reporter as evidence of “assisting a media strategy” rather than legal advice. Cooper also unsealed his order to compel that granted Fusion GPS computer researcher Laura Seago limited immunity and ordered her to testify at trial as Durham sought. Seago’s lawyer informed prosecutors she planned to “invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination absent a court order of immunity compelling her to testify at trial,” according to the unsealed records.


Cooper signed an order mandating Seago “give testimony or provide other information which she refuses to give or to provide on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination as to all matters about which she might be interrogated at trial and any proceedings ancillary thereto.” The judge also ruled that “no testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against Laura Seago in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order.” Durham had argued that Seago’s testimony was “necessary to the public interest.” It did not specify what prosecutors believed her testimony would focus on.

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“..some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information..”

FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)

The FBI decision to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser hinged on an unsubstantiated rumor from a Clinton campaign-paid dossier that the Washington Post’s Moscow sources had quickly shot down as “bullshit” and “impossible,” according to emails disclosed last week to a D.C. court hearing the criminal case of a Clinton lawyer accused of lying to the FBI. Though the FBI presumably had access to better sources than the newspaper, agents did little to verify the rumor that Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had secretly met with sanctioned Kremlin officials in Moscow. Instead, the bureau pounced on the dossier report the day it received it, immediately plugging the rumor into an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Page as a suspected Russian agent.

The allegation, peddled to both the press and FBI in the summer of 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to dig up dirt on Trump during the presidential race, proved to be the linchpin in winning approval for the 2016 warrant, which was renewed three times in 2017 – even though the FBI learned there were serious holes in the story and had failed to independently corroborate it. The revelations of early media skepticism about the Trump-Russia narrative before journalists embraced it are included in a 62-page batch of emails between Fusion and prominent Beltway reporters released by Special Counsel John Durham, who is scouring the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for evidence of abuse and criminal wrongdoing.


The documents suggest that some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information served up by Clinton agents. (The FBI declined comment.) The new material also offers a look at the lengths to which those working on Clinton’s behalf went in order to seed the government with unverified rumors about Trump and Russia that amounted to a disinformation campaign. Among those targeted were powerful Democratic members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who proved to be a willing collaborator.

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This is the fundamental point: the rights of the unborn child. That video is scary.

The Government Plays God (Whitehead)

“Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the ‘right’ of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the ‘property rights’ of slave masters in their slaves.”
– Ron Paul

The government wants to play god. It wants the power to decide who lives or dies and whose rights are worthy of protection. Delve beneath the rhetoric and spin that have turned abortion into a politicized, polarized and propagandized frontline in the culture wars, and you will find a greater menace at work. Abortion may be front and center in the power struggle between the Left and the Right over who has the right to decide—the government or the individual—when it comes to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy, sexual freedom, the rights of the unborn, and property interests in one’s body, but there’s so much more going on here.

The Left would suggest that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and the only right that matters is a woman’s right to privacy in choosing whether or not to abort a pregnancy. The Right, while fixated on saving the lives of unborn babies, seems less concerned about what happens to those lives from birth to death. What few seem willing to address is that in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the government has come to believe that it not only has the power to determine who is deserving of constitutional rights in the eyes of the law but it also has the authority to deny those rights to an American citizen.

This is how the abortion debate—a politicized tug-of-war over when an unborn child is considered a human being with rights—plays into the police state’s hands by laying the groundwork for discussions about who else may or may not be deserving of rights. Even if (as a leaked draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests) the Supreme Court overturns its earlier rulings recognizing abortion as a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment, that will not resolve the larger problem that plagues us today: namely, that all along the spectrum of life—from the unborn child to the aged—the government continues to play fast and loose with the lives of the citizenry.

40 weeks

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“..a complete embargo of all Russian oil..”

The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)

There’s a lot of news flying around about the changes happening in global currency trading. From “Gas for Rubles” to “What the Hell is Going on With the Yen?” there are a lot of questions and very few answers as to what it all means and whose on which side of the divide. The Fed just hiked 50 basis points for the first time since 2000 and will be running off its balance sheet forcing the Treasury to stop issuing new debt at stupid rates. The European Union unveiled a sixth sanctions package against Russia which calls for a complete embargo of all Russian oil. Further to this the EU is now aping what the Trump Administration tried to do to Iran in 2018, sanctioning all services, including insurance, to all shippers of oil from doing any business with Russia and sanctioned Russian banks.

These sanctions, effectively politicizing every aspect of international business and trade, are ultimately nothing more than short-term annoyances for Russia or anyone else. It betrays a mindset that cares nothing for the downstream effects of these actions and, if anything, betray the desperation felt in Brussels today about its position in the global market. I’ve spilled hundreds of column inches trying to explain to the world that it is the EU’s totalitarian mindset based on their psychological imbalance and ideological need to be seen as the champions of humanity, that drives all of their decisions. The US is not so driven. We’re far easier to understand. We like power but only so long as it nets us a profit.


This sanctions package is prima facie evidence of their insanity and what happens when, like a cornered animal, they are faced with an existential choice. The EU is built on a foundation of insulating its leadership from the vicissitudes of public opinion. Populism is a four-letter word in the Eurocrat’s vocabulary. The consequences of this policy which was conceived of by the fart-sniffing buffoons at the World Economic Forum, The Davos Crowd, are irrelevant to them in the short-term. Yes, Europeans will suffer tremendously high inflation because, if successful at taking a majority of Russian oil off the global markets, will only ensure that prices go ballistic. Do you think the same people who have a stated depopulation agenda who mandated a 12% effective Pfizer vaccine and wasn’t tested at all on pregnant women lest they be barred from partaking of European society care one whit about the people they govern?

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Woke.

Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

There’s a saying, and I don’t know who coined it, but it goes something like, “Go woke; go broke.” I do know that former president Donald Trump said that “everything woke turns to s**t.” One company that’s learning this lesson the hard way — even though nobody there will admit it publicly — is Disney. David Ng at Breitbart is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has lost a whopping $63 billion in market capitalization over the past two months. “Shares of Disney have plummeted 23.5 percent since the start of March, falling from $145.70,” Ng writes. “Market cap is down $62.6 billion, from $265.3 to $202.7 billion.” (For the uninitiated, Investopedia defines market capitalization as “the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as ‘market cap,’ it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share.”)

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to wrap my head around losing that kind of money. I freak out if I lose a $20 bill, so losing tens of billions because I took a political position that appeases a percentage of my workforce and a smaller percentage of the world at large at the expense of everybody else would be disastrous. That amount of money may be chump change to Disney, but it’s still nearly a quarter of its market cap. Disney’s stock has performed poorly over the past several months, dropping 30% over the past year. Much, though not all, of this stems directly from Disney’s decision to speak out on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which the legislature passed into law and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of March.


The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media falsely dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which triggered the LGBTQ lobby among Disney cast members to pressure CEO Bob Chapek to stick the company’s nose into the state’s business. DeSantis and the Florida legislature decided to fight fire with fire, and they voted to end the 1967 special improvement act that allowed Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially act as its own government over the Walt Disney World property.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

TexasLindsay Global by income
https://twitter.com/i/status/1522055712653910017

 

 

 

 

Hodkinson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1521239021992792067

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

Mar 092021
 
 March 9, 2021  Posted by at 9:58 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  40 Responses »


Keith Haring Untitled 1983

 

Overweight, Obese Americans Make Up 8 in 10 Covid Hospitalizations (F.)
Mutant COVID Strains In Florida, New York Threaten US Recovery – BofA (ZH)
Covid Outbreak In BC Care Home Where Residents, Staff Already Vaccinated (CBC)
Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks – CDC (AP)
CDC About To Be Canceled By Google and Facebook for COVID Heresy (Black)
US Says Russia-Backed Outlets Spread Covid Vaccine ‘Disinformation’ (CNBC)
Propaganda About ‘Vaccine Disinformation’ Is Just Another Russiagate (Malic)
Pfizer Seeks Sovereign Assets As Collateral For Vaccine Injury Lawsuits (TN)
Brazil Supreme Court Ruling Annuls Ex-President Lula’s Convictions (RT)
UK Supported Coup In Bolivia To Gain Access To Its ‘White Gold’ (DUK)
The Prophet Of The Trump Era (Taibbi)
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Kaboom (Kunstler)
The Past Is Another Country – Enforcing Orthodoxy (Lawrence)
The Self-silencing Majority (Bari Weiss)

 

 

People say the Burger King International Women’s Day campaign “backfired”. But I’m thinking: look at all the free publicity they’re getting.

 

 

 

Burger King gets a lot more attention than the president.

 

 

 

Where’s the huge nationwide campaign to prevent this?

Overweight, Obese Americans Make Up 8 in 10 Covid Hospitalizations (F.)

Nearly 8 in 10 people who were hospitalized for coronavirus were either overweight or obese, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Monday, which also found a higher body mass index is associated with serious coronavirus outcomes, such as hospitalization, being placed on a ventilator and even death. The study found obese patients with BMIs higher than 30 made up about half of all coronavirus hospital admissions between March and December of 2020. Overweight patients, or people with BMIs higher than 25 but lower than 30, accounted for 28.3% of hospitalized coronavirus patients during the same time frame.

Researchers also found an association between BMI and patients requiring admission to an intensive care unit, invasive mechanical ventilation and death, especially in people aged 65 and older. According to the CDC, obesity may contribute to serious coronavirus illness because excess weight impairs lung function and may also disrupt the body’s immune system. The CDC study looked at 71,491 coronavirus patients who tested positive for the virus during emergency room or inpatient visits at 238 American hospitals that tracked patients’ height and weight. 42.4%. That’s how much of the U.S. population is considered obese based on BMI, according to a 2018 CDC study, the most recent of its kind.

Black and Hispanic Americans, whose communities have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, are also more likely to live with obesity. Nearly 40% of Black adults reported having a BMI of higher than 30, followed by Hispanics (33.8%) and Whites (29.9%), according to CDC data from 2017-2019. Last week, the World Obesity Federation released a study based on Johns Hopkins University data that found “a dramatic correlation” between obesity rates and international death rates. Countries like the U.S. and U.K, where more than half of the population is classified as either overweight or obese, see more deaths per capita. Meanwhile, Vietnam, the country with the world’s lowest coronavirus death rate, has an adult obesity rate of only 18.3%, the second-lowest globally.

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Because bankers are experts on diseases.

Mutant COVID Strains In Florida, New York Threaten US Recovery – BofA (ZH)

Dr. Fauci and other health experts are warning about the prospect of a “4th wave” of COVID infections as mutated strains of the virus comprise a growing share of new COVID infections in the US, even as the JNJ one-shot vaccine promises to accelerate the pace of vaccinations. Worries about spreading mutant strains are being amplified by research showing that B.1.1.7 (first identified in the UK, also known as the “Kent” strain, after where it was first isolated and identified) might be on the cusp of becoming the most prevalent strain in the US. According to research cited in a note published Monday by a team of researchers at BofA, Florida is on the cusp of seeing the UK variant become the “dominant” strain in the state.


And although hospitalizations, new cases and deaths have slowed in the Sunshine State, researchers are concerned that the variants are slowing the ebb of the pandemic in the state – and could possibly supercharge it. Cases and hospitalizations are still slowing in the state, just not as quickly as they were in January. The team of analysts at BofA said these trends have raised concerns about Florida becoming a bellwether state for the spread of the new variants, which many fear could surge as states from Texas to Connecticut move to loosen at least some (or in Texas’s case, practically all) virus-related restrictions. The fact that the state’s positivity ratio has declined since the start of the year suggests that the virus truly is receding (in other words, the lower case numbers aren’t due to solely to a pullback in testing).

Perhaps counterintuitively, the analysts at BofA are worried that the UK variant might not be as dominant in Florida as they believe. They also gamed out two additional scenarios that they said would lead to a greater outlook. “We see three possible explanations for Florida’s continued improvement. First, the spread of the new variant might not be as far along as estimated. So the old variant might still be contracting off a much larger base, while the new variant is growing off a small base. This would not be good news as it would suggest an imminent increase in cases as the new variant continues to spread.


Second, vaccines might be more effective at containing the virus than we thought, by making both vaccinated people and their close contacts less vulnerable. This would be good news because the cumulative effect of vaccines should increase quickly as the roll-out gains momentum. The third explanation, which is least likely in our view, is that the B.1.1.7 variant is significantly less contagious than widely estimated. This would probably be the best news of all.”

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Lovely.

Covid Outbreak In BC Care Home Where Residents, Staff Already Vaccinated (CBC)

A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Cottonwoods Care Centre in the Interior Health region where staff and residents had already received vaccines, B.C’s provincial health officer announced Monday. In a live news conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said being vaccinated doesn’t mean transmission will be stopped and that precautions must remain in place for seniors and care homes. “You can have transmission even when people are fully vaccinated,” she said. “The illness seems to be milder and doesn’t transmit as much [and we] won’t see rapid explosive outbreaks.”


Two staff members and 10 residents have tested positive at the Cottonwoods long-term care facility in Kelowna which has 221 publicly-funded beds. Henry said that all staff and residents at the home were offered immunizations and that there was very high uptake of the vaccine. She said some of the cases were among people who had received two doses of the vaccine. “This serves to remind us that while we are confident is very effective and prevents severe illness and death it doesn’t necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped.” Henry added the province will give new guidance by the end of month that will allow for increased visits at long-term care centres.

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The CDC is on a roll: fresh from reporting that facemasks prevent 1.32% of infections, ignores outbreaks like the one in BC, and also ignores the WHO stating we have no idea if vaccines reduce transmission.

But let us, in turn, NOT ignore how dangerous it is to discriminate against people who are simply not infected.

Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks – CDC (AP)

Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials. The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday. The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

“With more and more people vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. During a press briefing Monday, she called the guidance a “first step” toward restoring normalcy in how people come together. She said more activities would be ok’d for vaccinated individuals once caseloads and deaths decline, more Americans are vaccinated, and as more science emerges on the ability of those who have been vaccinated to get and spread the virus. The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people still wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

The CDC guidance did not speak to people who may have gained some level of immunity from being infected, and recovering from, the coronavirus. Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. About 31 million Americans — or only about 9% of the U.S. population — have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the CDC.

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“..the difference between mask mandates and no mask mandate is literally just a 1.32% difference..”

CDC About To Be Canceled By Google and Facebook for COVID Heresy (Black)

On Friday afternoon, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (still called the CDC, even though they added a ‘P’) released a heretical report about mask-wearing and COVID-19. The report, authored by at least a dozen medical doctors, PhD researchers, and, bizarrely, a handful of attorneys, examined how mask mandates across the US affected COVID cases and death rates. You’d think with all of the media propaganda about mask effectiveness… and all the virtue signaling, with politicians and reporters appearing on live TV wearing masks… that the data would prove incontrovertibly and overwhelmingly that masks have saved the world. But that’s not what the report says. According to the CDC’s analysis, between March 1 and December 31 last year, statewide mask mandates were in effect in 2,313 of the 3,142 counties in the United States.

And, looking at the county-by-county data, the CDC concludes that mask mandates were associated with an average 1.32% decrease in the growth rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the first 100 days after the mask policy was implemented. Wait, what? Only 1.32%? You read that correctly, they didn’t misplace the decimal: according to the federal government agency that is responsible for managing the COVID-1984 pandemic, the difference between mask mandates and no mask mandate is literally just a 1.32% difference. And bear in mind, it’s entirely possible that the real figure is even lower than that, given all the questionable COVID statistics. For example, the CDC reports that influenza cases in the United States have dropped to almost zero in the 2020-2021 flu season, down from 56 MILLION the previous year.

It’s amazing they expect anyone to take this data seriously. Are we honestly supposed to believe that the flu has been eradicated? Or is it possible, that, maybe just maybe, at least some influenza cases have been misdiagnosed as COVID? If that’s the case, then the real impact of masks on COVID growth rates is potentially much lower than 1.32%. Even the CDC seems to understand this, because at the end of its report, they inspidly conclude by stating that mask mandates “have the potential to slow the spread of COVID-19. . .” Really? “Potential”? That’s HERESY! And an obvious contradiction to WHO guidance. It makes we wonder whether Google and Facebook are gearing up to censor this report, given they have self-appointed themselves as the Ministry of Truth.

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Why does the Kremlin bother to deny this?

US Says Russia-Backed Outlets Spread Covid Vaccine ‘Disinformation’ (CNBC)

The United States has identified three online publications directed by Russia’s intelligence services that it says are seeking to undermine Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, a State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday. The outlets “spread many types of disinformation, including about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issue that they can exploit,” the spokeswoman said. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported on the identification of the alleged campaign on Sunday. A Kremlin spokesman denied the U.S. claim Russia was spreading false information about vaccines to the WSJ.


[..] Russia approved its Sputnik V vaccine in August, before a large-scale trial had begun, saying it was the first country to do so for a Covid-19 shot. Peer-reviewed trials months later proved it was almost 92% effective in fighting the virus. Pfizer, headquartered in New York, and Germany’s BioNTech, produced the first vaccine that was authorized in the United States, which regulators approved in December. The second, made by Moderna, headquartered in Massachusetts, was authorized later that month. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center, set up to counter propaganda and disinformation campaigns, identified the three outlets, the spokeswoman said.

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Well, obviously.

Propaganda About ‘Vaccine Disinformation’ Is Just Another Russiagate (Malic)

By accusing Moscow of spreading disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, US propagandists that spread the original ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy are doing it again, stoking fear and hatred and projecting amid a pandemic. Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed State Department official to claim that Russia is using four websites “linked to” intelligence agencies to “inject false narratives” about Western vaccines against Covid-19 that “can be amplified” by other media. Asked about this on Monday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is “monitoring” and “taking steps to address” these efforts. Meanwhile, the WSJ report was being, well, amplified on Twitter by prolific influencers declaring the alleged Russian behavior to be a “crime against humanity.”

Thing is, all of this amounts to a disinformation and influence operation itself – by the very methodology the people involved are using. The WSJ source is someone from the Global Engagement Center, set up in 2016 as a propaganda shop against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists, which was later expanded to advancing “fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests” and countering “Russian disinformation.” The claim that the four websites were Russian spy cutouts was “a result of a joint interagency conclusion,” the Journal cited an unnamed State Department spokesman as saying. In other words, just like the infamous ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ that made Russiagate official.

The WSJ article also previews a “report” – published Monday – by the Alliance For Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund NGO notorious for their ‘Hamilton68 dashboard’ that promoted and amplified Russiagate by seeing ‘Kremlin bots and trolls’ everywhere. Now we’re getting somewhere! Except the report itself ends up being full of qualifications, weasel-words and hair-splitting parsing of how certain headlines in the media are “coded,” in an effort to, well, promote a narrative. ASD analyzed tweets – of course they did – from Russian, Chinese and Iranian media and concluded that “there were few instances of any studied country promoting verifiably false information about vaccines” but that reports about certain Western vaccines “were often sensationalized while downplaying or completely omitting key contextual information.”

Keep in mind that demanding “context” is a favorite trick of so-called fact-checkers to argue that something is false even when factually true. As ASD itself admits, Russia, China and Iran sought to persuade their own public that their vaccines were “safer, more effective, and more affordable than certain vaccines produced in the West.” Except, that’s what clinical trial results published in reputable Western medical journals such as Lancet literally say when it comes to Sputnik V. Doesn’t matter, it’s now “disinformation” to point out facts that the Russian vaccine costs less than the mRNA vaccines made in the West, or doesn’t require their expensive cold storage.

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It’s like a CIA operation.

Pfizer Seeks Sovereign Assets As Collateral For Vaccine Injury Lawsuits (TN)

As reported by New Delhi-based World Is One News (WION), Pfizer is demanding countries put up sovereign assets as collateral for expected vaccine injury lawsuits resulting from its COVID-19 inoculation. In other words, it wants governments to guarantee the company will be compensated for any expenses resulting from injury lawsuits against it. WION reports that Argentina and Brazil have rejected Pfizer’s demands. Initially, the company demanded indemnification legislation to be enacted, such as that which it enjoys in the U.S. Argentina proposed legislation that would restrict Pfizer’s financial responsibility for injuries to those resulting from negligence or malice. Pfizer rejected the proposal. It also rejected a rewritten proposal that included a clearer definition of negligence.

Pfizer then demanded the Argentinian government put up sovereign assets — including its bank reserves, military bases and embassy buildings — as collateral. Argentina refused. A similar situation occurred in Brazil. Pfizer demanded Brazil: • “Waive sovereignty of its assets abroad in favor of Pfizer” • Not apply its domestic laws to the company • Not penalize Pfizer for vaccine delivery delays • Exempt Pfizer from all civil liability for side effects. Brazil rejected Pfizer’s demands, calling them “abusive.” As noted by WION, Pfizer developed its vaccine with the help of government funding, and now it — a private company — is demanding governments hand over sovereign assets to ensure the company won’t lose a dime if its product injures people, even if those injuries are the result of negligent company practices, fraud or malice.

[..] In the U.S., vaccine makers already enjoy full indemnity against injuries occurring from this or any other pandemic vaccine under the PREP Act. If you’re injured, you’d have to file a compensation claim with the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP),6 which is funded by U.S. taxpayers via Congressional appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). While similar to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), which applies to nonpandemic vaccines, the CICP is even less generous when it comes to compensation. For example, while the NVICP pays some of the costs associated with any given claim, the CICP does not. This means you’ll also be responsible for attorney fees and expert witness fees.

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Well, the rich got rid of him anyway.

Brazil Supreme Court Ruling Annuls Ex-President Lula’s Convictions (RT)

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge has cancelled all sentences against the country’s former leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, restoring his political rights to run again for office ahead of next year’s election.
Supreme Court judge Edson Fachin ruled on Monday that the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba, which had convicted Lula of money laundering and corruption, actually had no jurisdiction over the cases. The judge annulled all sentences handed to the 75-year-old in relation to ‘Operation Lava Jato’ (Car Wash) – a major anti-graft investigation in which three ex-presidents and numerous officials were indicted. Monday’s ruling means that Lula’s political rights have been restored, making him eligible to run against Brazil’s current leader, Jair Bolsonaro, in the presidential election in 2022.


The country’s so-called ‘Clean Record Act’ bars those with convictions from holding public office, a measure which already cost the veteran politician a spot in the 2018 presidential race. The judge’s decision was procedural and didn’t focus on the validity of the earlier cases against Lula. A lower court will now have to decide if he should be retried on those charges. Brazil’s Prosecutor General, Augusto Aras, has already announced that he intends to appeal the Supreme Court ruling. Lula served as Brazil’s president between 2003 and 2011, a period of rapid economic growth for the country which saw millions getting out of poverty through social welfare programs.

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Lithium.

UK Supported Coup In Bolivia To Gain Access To Its ‘White Gold’ (DUK)

On 10 November 2019, after the head of the army called for his resignation, Bolivia’s socialist president, Evo Morales, stepped down. It followed weeks of protests after the release of a report by the Organisation of American States (OAS) alleging irregularities in the election Morales had won the previous month. Persecution from the new regime forced Morales to flee the country and an “interim president”, Jeanine Áñez, was installed. Widely condemned as a coup, resulting protests were met with lethal force. Days after taking power, on 14 November, the Áñez regime forced through Decree 4078 which gave immunity to the military for any actions taken in “the defence of society and maintenance of public order”. The following day, on 15 November, Bolivian military forces shot and killed eight protesters in the city of Sacaba.

On 21 November, regime forces killed another 10 protesters in the neighbourhood of Senkata just outside the capital La Paz. Despite the deadly violence, which was condemned by human rights groups, the British embassy in La Paz moved quickly to support Bolivia’s new regime, Declassified can reveal from documents we have obtained. We have seen a project list for a Foreign Office programme in Bolivia called “Frontline Diplomatic Enabling Activity”, which the UK government describes as a “small pot of money that [embassies] receive and have authority over to spend on projects supporting [embassy] activity”. Bolivia has the world’s second-largest reserves of lithium, a metal that is used to make batteries and which has become increasingly important due to the burgeoning electric car industry.

The UK government has stated that lithium battery technology is a priority for its “industrial strategy”. In June 2019, it announced it was investing £23-million in “electric car battery development”. The government has further noted: “It’s estimated that South America holds 54% of the world’s lithium resources, which are increasingly in demand to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and energy diversification programmes.” It added: “The UK aims to have a thriving, sustainable battery industry, which would translate to a £2.7 billion opportunity … and our bilateral partnerships are essential to ensure this.”

In February 2019, Evo Morales’ government had chosen a Chinese consortium to be its strategic partner on a new $2.3-billion lithium project which would focus on production from the Coipasa and Pastos Grandes salars (salt flats under which the lithium is deposited). But after the coup, the regime’s new minister for mining cast doubt on whether the deal would be honoured by the new government.

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“Kids ran around him like he was a shrubbery.”

The Prophet Of The Trump Era (Taibbi)

I entered Martin Gurri’s world on August 1, 2015. Though I hadn’t read The Revolt of the Public, at the time a little-known book by the former CIA analyst of open news sources, I hit a disorienting moment of a type he’d described in his opening chapter. There are times, he wrote, “when tomorrow no longer resembles yesterday… the compass cracks, by which we navigate existence. We are lost at sea.” Gurri’s book is about how popular uprisings are triggered by collapses of faith in traditional hierarchies of power. I felt such a collapse that day in Waterloo, Iowa, covering the Republican presidential primary. The first debate was five days away and the man expected to occupy center stage, Donald Trump, held a seemingly inexplicable six-point lead.

Two weeks before, on July 18th, Trump lashed out against former Republican nominee John McCain. Even McCain’s critics considered his physical and mental scars from years as a Vietnam war prisoner to be unassailable proofs of his patriotic gravitas, but the service-evading Trump was having none of it. “I don’t like losers,” he said, adding, “He’s only a war hero because he was captured.” It was the universal belief among colleagues in campaign journalism that this was an unsurvivable gaffe, a “Dean scream” moment. We expected him to apologize and wash out. Instead, he called McCain a “dummy” and kept a firm grasp on the lead.

A different candidate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was in Waterloo. Two years before, Time all but dubbed Christie the favorite for 2016 with a silhouette cover portrait, over the nastily shallow (but publicity-generating) double-entendre headline, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Christie was every Washington consultant’s idea of a “crossover” superstar. I’d describe the concept in Rolling Stone as someone “mean enough for the right-wing, but also knows a gay person or once read a French novel.” Christie parked himself in the middle of Waterloo’s annual “Irish fest” street fair, waiting for an Iowan to ask for a souvenir campaign handshake. He had his hand out and thumb stuck upwards, like an Iguanodon. Nobody came. Kids ran around him like he was a shrubbery.

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“Even the news media may seek to know who is actually in charge of the executive branch before much longer..”

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Kaboom (Kunstler)

One-time $1,400 handouts and even regular $300 unemployment subsidies won’t pay the mortgages or feed families very long, and every day there are fewer families bringing in anything close to that mythical $150,000. For many, it’s more like… nothing. The one-time bailouts of recklessly insolvent city and state governments and pension funds will only postpone their collapse. The varying guaranteed basic income schemes, enhanced child credits, advances on tax refunds, and other gimmicks would turn the former working class into sub-lumpenproles with nothing to occupy them but crime and vice. In fact, we already have a sizable underclass demonstrating exactly what you’ll get from enlarging the social group dependent on government support.

The only other question for now is when do the different population groups in this land explode in violence? The group loosely bundled as “Red” is angry enough with the ongoing insults of Wokery, failed rule-of-law, and abridgments of basic constitutional rights. The states where they dominate are likely to resist any more fiats by the federal government, like the imminent attempt to confiscate firearms. The “Blue” auxiliary armies are beyond their creators’ control. Antifa will be ready to rock-and-roll in the streets with good weather because so many young people have absolutely no prospects to thrive in the collapsing economy, and the streets have become their social space, with so little money for lattes and beers. And BLM need look no further than the Derrick Chauvin trial in Minnesota, starting today, for an excuse to resume its characteristic activities.

Does anyone seriously believe that the husk of Joe Biden will remain in office more than another few weeks? It’s obvious that he doesn’t have the mental mojo to work an authentic press conference, and surely not the customary address to a joint session of Congress. Even the news media may seek to know who is actually in charge of the executive branch before much longer. Pay close attention to events unspooling. Get ready for trouble. It’s coming every which way, from money to public order to rollicking spring weather.

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This is our exceptionalist consciousness at work: “It can’t happen here..”

The Past Is Another Country – Enforcing Orthodoxy (Lawrence)

To censor is an act of deprivation, a taking away. To enforce an intolerant orthodoxy is an act of imposition. The two cannot be understood separately from one another.

[..] It is time, then, to sit up and look squarely at the grave threats with which a creeping, apple-pie authoritarianism now faces us. Censorship and its sibling, official propaganda, have lately come to imperil our civil liberties, our civil rights — especially our right to express ourselves freely— and altogether our right to knowledge, our right to understand the world we live in and the events that shape it, and at last our right to shape those events. Compared to these, the supposed threats of the Jan. 6 protests on Capitol Hill and the running, no-evidence business of the Russians having intruded into hundreds of corporate and government computer systems are nothing. Numerous are the voices raised in opposition to this menacing, corrosive drift in America. But too few grasp the gravity of our shared predicament.

Complacency — complacency induced by propaganda, indeed — is another of our urgent problems. One can read in any history book about suppression and repression and the incessant repetition of officially approved perspectives to the exclusion of all dissenting views. But the past is another country in the American mind, ever distant. Such circumstances are supposed to befall others but never Americans. We customarily identify grim polities of this kind and blighted pubic space with the Soviets, or the Latin American dictators, or the too-numerous-to-name despotic regimes that fill history texts. This is our exceptionalist consciousness at work: “It can’t happen here,” as Sinclair Lewis titled the anti-fascist novel he published — note the date — in 1935.

It has not happened here — let us not succumb to language inflation — but we are now on notice that it can. Overcoming exceptionalism, even among those who purport to reject its ideology, is where the project must begin. When we are sitting up, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to get up. If we are to defend our rights as just enumerated, it is up to each of us to act. And taking part in a patently broken electoral system — this is my personal view —can no longer be considered acting: It amounts to acquiescing. “Aux armes, citoyens!” is a thought I leave to other sorts of columnists. My salutation is simpler: “Arise!” will do. We had better wake up, this is to say, if we are to avert a very dark age and reinvent the country and its institutions—which, forget about reform or restoration, is what must be considered the imperative now.

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Why she left the NYT.

The Self-silencing Majority (Bari Weiss)

I was born in 1984, which puts me among the last generation born into America before the phrase “cancel culture” existed. That world I was born into was liberal. I don’t mean that in the partisan sense, but in the classical and therefore the most capacious sense of that word. It was a liberal consensus shared by liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. The consensus view relied on a few foundational truths that seemed as obvious as the blue of the sky: the belief that everyone is created in the image of God; the belief that everyone is equal because of it; the presumption of innocence; a revulsion to mob justice; a commitment to pluralism and free speech, and to liberty of thought and of faith.

As I’ve observed elsewhere, this worldview recognized that there were whole realms of human life located outside the province of politics, like friendships, art, music, family and love. It was possible for Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be the best of friends, because, as Scalia once said, some things are more important than votes. Most importantly, this worldview insisted that what bound us together was not blood or soil, but a commitment to a shared set of ideas. Even with all of its failings, the thing that makes America exceptional is that it is a departure from the notion, still prevalent in so many other places, that biology, birthplace, class, rank, gender, race are destiny. Our second founding fathers, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, were living testimonies to that truth.

This old consensus — every single aspect of it — has been run over by the new illiberal orthodoxy. Because this ideology cloaks itself in the language of progress, many understandably fall for its self-branding. Don’t. It promises revolutionary justice, but it threatens to drag us back into the mean of history, in which we are pitted against one another according to tribe. The primary mode of this ideological movement is not building or renewing or reforming, but tearing down. Persuasion is replaced with public shaming. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Mercy is replaced with vengeance. Pluralism with conformity; debate with de-platforming; facts with feelings; ideas with identity.

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WS Merwin

 

 

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Nov 092019
 
 November 9, 2019  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Sheperd and sheperdess in a meadow 1888

 

MSM Gets History & Russia All Wrong AGAIN (RT)
Trump Has ‘No Problem’ Releasing Second Phone Call With Ukraine (NBC)
Anonymous Author Writes Trump’s Decision-Making Is Eroding Over Time (NBC)
‘Steady State’ Kept ‘Wheels From Coming Off The White House Wagon’ (Hill)
Facebook Scrubs All References To Alleged Whistleblower Eric Ciaramella (ZH)
Trump On Impeachment: ‘They Shouldn’t Be Having Public Hearings’ (Hill)
Giuliani: Ukraine Quid Pro Quo Intended To Benefit Trump Personally (WE)
Enter the Old White Knight (Kunstler)
Brazil’s Former President Lula Released From Prison (RT)
Southwest and American Pull 737 MAX Until Early March (R.)

 

 

Over 20 million Russians died in WWII. This should be mandatory knowledge in all western schools. And for reporters. It’s about respect. It should also be mandatory for US presidents to attend V-Day, certainly when it’s the 75th.

MSM Gets History & Russia All Wrong AGAIN (RT)

US President Donald Trump managed to trigger his critics again by saying he would love to go to Russia for the celebration of victory in WWII – which a reporter and most media misnamed as the long-nonexistent “May Day parade.” “I would love to go if I could,” Trump said on Friday, answering a reporter who had asked if he would go to the “May Day parade” in Moscow next year. “I am thinking about it.” Trump noted it was in the middle of the campaign season for the 2020 US presidential election, so he might be busy. The mere mention of the possibility of going to Russia is enough to send the US president’s critics into a frenzy, but the mention of “May Day” had them additionally shrieking in outrage.

“All roads lead to Putin!” exclaimed Raw Story, rolling out a gamut of #Resistance Twitter reactions echoing that line from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Leading the way was CNN anchor Jim Sciutto, who characterized the parade as “a celebration of Russian military power, which Putin is using to undermine US national security interests across the globe.” [..] The trouble with all these hot takes is that there is no such thing as the “May Day military parade,” and hasn’t been in over 50 years. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union did roll out the tanks and missiles on Red Square for International Workers’ Day, but the last such military display was in 1968.

Trump’s own response on Friday – “It’s a very big deal, celebrating the end of the war” – indicates he knew perfectly well to which event he’d been invited: the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ triumph over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, which Russia will celebrate on May 9, 2020.

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No, NBC, it’s V-Day, not a May Day military parade.

Trump Has ‘No Problem’ Releasing Second Phone Call With Ukraine (NBC)

President Donald Trump said Friday that he spoke to the president of Ukraine by phone in April, months before the call at the center of the impeachment inquiry, and that he was willing to provide a transcript of the call. “I have the second call, which nobody knew about,” Trump said, speaking to reporters as he left the White House on Friday morning, referring to that spring conversation. “I guess they want that to be produced also. … I understand they’d like it, and I have no problem giving it to them.” Trump was referring to the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry, which was prompted by a whistleblower complaint about a phone conversation Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskiy on July 25.


The president said that the White House counsel did not want to release “all this information” but that he did not object to turning it over. “I had a call, I’m sure it was fine. I make a lot of calls. But I have no problem releasing it. I’m very transparent,” he said, though he was concerned that doing so “sets a bad precedent” with foreign leaders who might worry about the privacy of their future conversations with the United States. Trump said his first phone call with Zelinksiy was “very revealing,” adding it was another “perfect” call. Trump also said that he is considering visiting Russia for its May Day military parade. “I am certainly thinking about it,” he said, adding that President Vladimir Putin had extended an invitation

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Smearing has turned anonymous. The media should ignore it completely. They do the opposite.

Anonymous Author Writes Trump’s Decision-Making Is Eroding Over Time (NBC)

President Donald Trump’s behavior can be so erratic that most top administration officials have pre-written resignation letters ready to submit, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior official in the Trump administration says in a book scheduled to be published this month. To complicate matters, the president’s decision-making abilities are getting worse with time, according to excerpts of “A Warning” that were obtained and read Thursday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” The author, described only as “a senior Trump administration official,” is the same person who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times last year headlined, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.”

The column said “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The information is coming from an anonymous source, and NBC News does not know who the writer is nor whether they were in a position to have witnessed what they say transpired. In the book excerpts, the author describes near-daily “five-alarm fire drill” that leads senior officials to cancel plans and race to the White House to intercept Trump before he can enact his latest “wacky or destructive idea.” “Staff throw up the Bat-Signal, calling a snap meeting or a teleconference. ‘He’s about to do something,’ one warns the group, explaining what the president is about to announce.” “‘He can’t do this. We’ll all look like idiots, and he’ll get murdered for it in the press,’ another exclaims. “‘Yeah, well, I’m telling you he’s going to do it unless someone gets to him fast,’ the first warns. ‘Can you cancel your afternoon?'”

[..] In excerpts published separately by The Washington Post, the author likens Trump to “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.” “I’ve sat and listened in uncomfortable silence as he talks about a woman’s appearance or performance,” according to the Post’s excerpts. “He comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He questions the toughness of women in and around his orbit. He uses words like ‘sweetie’ and ‘honey’ to address accomplished professionals. This is precisely the way a boss shouldn’t act in the work environment.”

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One half of the nation keeps on eating it all up.

‘Steady State’ Kept ‘Wheels From Coming Off The White House Wagon’ (Hill)

In a new book, the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed has described a “steady state” that formed to “keep the wheels from coming off the White House wagon,” according to excepts from the book read by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on her show Thursday. “The early Steady State formed to keep the wheels from coming off the White House wagon,” Maddow read from the excerpts of the book “A Warning.” “When presidential appointees started conferring about their shared concerns with the nation’s chief executive … it was done informally, in weekly phone calls or on the margins of meetings,” Maddow continued, citing the book. Many of the concerns staff members had about the president stemmed from his “inattentiveness” and “impulsiveness.”


[..] “In Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable,” the person wrote last year. “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state,” they continued at the time. The Post on Thursday also reported on an excerpt of the book in which the anonymous person, billed as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” wrote that officials wake up “in a full-blown panic” due to Trump’s tweets.

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And Twitter too. Curious. Everyone knows the name. So why the censorship?

Facebook Scrubs All References To Alleged Whistleblower Eric Ciaramella (ZH)

Facebook announced on Friday that it would be removing an posts which name alleged Trump-Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella. “We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in the debate,” Facebook said in a statement in which they claim it violates their “coordinating harm” policy which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist.’ On Wednesday, the social media giant removed ads naming Ciaramella which had been viewed several hundred thousand times according to the Washington Post.

On Friday, Breitbart’s Allum Bohkari reported that the news outlet’s posts containing references to Ciaramella had been scrubbed from the site. Wednesday evening, Facebook removed Breitbart posts reporting on the fact other respected news outlets have reported the identity of the alleged whistleblower is Eric Ciaramella. Any Facebook user who attempts to click on that article on Facebook is now given a message that says, “this content isn’t available at the moment.” To be clear, Breitbart did not “out” the alleged whistleblower but did provide additional relevant reporting about him; he is, after all, a public figure, having served on the National Security Council. Moreover, his name has been used in the Mueller report (p283) and Ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony.

Administrators of Breitbart News’ Facebook page began receiving notifications on Wednesday evening stating that Breitbart’s page is “at risk of being unpublished” but were not given any details as to why, or even which posts were allegedly at issue. -Breitbart Of note, it is not against the law for anyone except the Inspector General to disclose a whistleblower’s name. “There is no overarching protection for the identity of the whistleblower under federal law,” said attorney Dan Meyer, the former executive director of the intelligence community whistleblower program, adding “Congress has never provided that protection.”

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I think he means there should not be any hearings.

Trump On Impeachment: ‘They Shouldn’t Be Having Public Hearings’ (Hill)

Trump on Friday blasted the impeachment proceedings in his most extensive public comments since the first transcripts were released on Monday. He attacked Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment process and suggested an attorney for the whistleblower who raised concerns about his call with the Ukrainian president should be sued “and maybe for treason.” Trump downplayed the potentially damaging effects of the transcripts that have been released thus far, claiming he was unfamiliar with many of the witnesses and that none of them had first-hand information. “I’m not concerned about anything,” Trump said. “The testimony has all been fine. I mean for the most part, I’ve never even heard of these people. There are some very fine people. You have some Never Trumpers. It seems that nobody has any first-hand knowledge.”

The president asserted that the only thing that counts is the partial transcript from his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. While Trump has insisted that document shows the call was “perfect,” it depicts the president urging his Ukrainian counterpart to “look into” the Bidens after Zelensky brought up the need for military assistance. Trump added that he’s open to releasing a similar memo detailing an earlier call with Zelensky if Democrats demand a copy. The House Intelligence Committee will hold public hearings next week with three witnesses who have testified privately in recent weeks, presenting new challenges for Trump’s efforts to discredit members of his own administration.

Diplomat William Taylor and State Department official George Kent will testify on Wednesday, and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify Friday. The White House has refused to cooperate with the process thus far, directing officials not to testify. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney did not comply with a subpoena to testify on Friday. Trump told reporters at the White House he would have no problem with Mulvaney speaking with lawmakers, but he did not want to “give credibility to a corrupt witch hunt.”

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A very strange conclusion by the Washington Examiner. Defending a client against false accusations, which Giuliani says he did and does, equals “prioritizing Trump’s personal gain over that of the people”?!

Giuliani: Ukraine Quid Pro Quo Intended To Benefit Trump Personally (WE)

Here, the president’s personal attorney has conceded that he used formal diplomatic channels and the powers of the Oval Office to prioritize Trump’s personal gain over that of the people. Trump’s only option at this point is to throw Giuliani and his back-channel under the bus. It’s evident that Burisma only hired Hunter Biden for access to his father, even though it’s unclear that the vice president ever allowed the oil company or his son to exploit that connection. Furthermore, we know for a fact that Ukraine favored Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. But we have diplomatic channels and strategies to combat legitimate corruption and investigate malfeasance.


Furthermore, Trump’s personal legal defense should not involve using the powers of the presidency — potentially without the property security clearances — to gain exculpatory evidence. For a personal attorney to use congressionally approved aid to advance a president’s personal interests over national interests is unconscionable. If Trump signed off on that, then yes, it’s clearly an impeachable abuse of power that proves he’s willing to illicitly interfere with the 2020 election.

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“..liable to end in a farrago of humiliation so intense that all the Lawfare ninjas on God’s green earth will not avail to rescue the Democratic Party’s lost honor..”

Enter the Old White Knight (Kunstler)

And how does Mike measure up against his old Boomer Gen fellow New Yorker and sometime adversary, Mr. Trump? For all of his gilded trappings, there’s no denying that Mr. Trump is beloved by what used to be known as the Salt of the Earth — more lately the “Deplorables” — despite the fact that the president may have actually never been on a New York Subway once in his well-padded life, while Mike was a renowned “strap-hanger” in his city hall glory days. The awful irony! Also, President DJT is almost never seen dressed in anything but that straightjacket of a business suit and tie, gold cufflinks and all, while Mike has often appeared in Hamptons casuals of perfectly distressed blue jeans, polo shirt, and Gucci loafers which, these days, is tantamount to hippie garb.

Mike’s most obvious selling point is that he appears to be what used to be known as “a normal person,” that is in speech, manner, and general comportment. But, normal to whom these days? Perhaps not to the WalMart shoppers moiling by the tens of thousands in those heartland arenas where Mr. Trump casts his magic spells of plain speech and surly manner, much beloved in these days of dastardly, confabulating lawyer-speak, gender studies crypto-metaphysical bullshit, and self-serving New York Times Ivy League ambiguation.

Speaking of which, what might Mike Bloomberg do about the impeachment circus led by the imbecile Adam Schiff that is liable to end in a farrago of humiliation so intense that all the Lawfare ninjas on God’s green earth will not avail to rescue the Democratic Party’s lost honor? Or, how will a Bloomberg campaign maneuver through the blizzard of indictments coming down against the former agents, servelings, chore-boys, foot-soldiers, and media sirens of Barack Obama’s runaway Deep State?

Read more …

Brazil will have to get rid of Bolsonaro. But it may be too corrupted to achieve that.

Brazil’s Former President Lula Released From Prison (RT)

A judge has ordered the release from jail of former President of Brazil Lula da Silva until his appeal process ends. Da Silva stands accused of corruption, though he and his supporters call the charges politically motivated. On Friday, the judge accepted the request filed by the ex-president’s defense team, authorizing him to leave jail. Da Silva will now be able to stay out of prison until his appeal process continues. Within two hours after the release request was accepted, former Brazilian President walked out of jail, meeting a large crowd of his supporters who gathered outside to celebrate the occasion. Shortly after the ruling, Lula’s official Twitter account released a video of of the 74-year-old working out. The post was accompanied by two words only: “Lula free”.


The move follows the Thursday ruling by the country’s Supreme Court, which overturned, in a 6-5 vote, its own 2016 decision, which had obliged convicted criminals to go to jail after they lose their first appeal. Now, the court decided such a provision to be non-constitutional, since the country’s basic law says no one can be considered guilty until due process is over. Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, was slapped with a 12-year jail term as a result of a probe into an alleged massive corruption scheme, commonly known as the ‘Car Wash.’ The socialist icon has always maintained his innocence, vehemently rejecting all the accusations as politically-motivated.

Read more …

I wouldn’t bet on March either.

Southwest and American Pull 737 MAX Until Early March (R.)

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines Group Inc said on Friday they are extending Boeing 737 MAX cancellations until early March, just shy of the one-year anniversary of an Ethiopian Airlines crash of the jet that led to a worldwide grounding. Southwest and American, the two largest U.S. operators of the aircraft, have had to scale back growth plans and are together canceling more than 300 flights a day, taking a hit to profits as they manage slimmer fleets without the 737 MAX. Southwest, which has bet its entire growth strategy on Boeing’s newest single-aisle aircraft, had previously canceled all its 737 MAX flights until Feb. 8 and now expects a return to service on March 6, though it warned that the timeline could get pushed back again.


Boeing Co is facing increasing hurdles in obtaining approval to return the plane to service before the end of this year as it has targeted. [..] Reuters reported this week that U.S. and European regulators will need to return to a Rockwell Collins facility in Iowa to complete an audit of Boeing’s software documentation after regulators found gaps and substandard documents. Boeing has confirmed it must submit revised documentation. That has thrown into question when Boeing would be able to complete a certification test flight. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it would not unground the planes until 30 days after that flight occurs.

Read more …

 

A nice graph from Statista, but if they don’t specify which currency the debt is in, it loses much of its meaning.

 

 

 

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Nov 082019
 
 November 8, 2019  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Whatever happened to Nancy?

 

NATO Alliance Experiencing Brain Death, Says Macron (BBC)
Merkel & Stoltenberg Slam Macron’s ‘Brain-Dead NATO’ Comment (RT)
Big Tech Is Dragging Us Towards The Next Financial Crash (G.)
Fed Goes Nuts with Repos & T-Bills but Sheds Mortgage Backed Securities (WS)
Colonel Vindman Is an ‘Expert’ With an Agenda (Giraldi)
Obama Admin Tried To Partner With Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gas Firm (Solomon)
Assange Lawyers’ Links To US Govt & Bill Browder (Komisar)
Brazil Court Ruling Could Free Lula (BBC)
Human Population Came From Our Ability To Cooperate (PhysOrg)

 

 

A slow quarter for French arms sales?

NATO Alliance Experiencing Brain Death, Says Macron (BBC)

President Emmanuel Macron of France has described Nato as “brain dead”, stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US. Interviewed by the Economist, he cited the US failure to consult Nato before pulling forces out of northern Syria. He also questioned whether Nato was still committed to collective defence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a key ally, said she disagreed with Mr Macron’s “drastic words”.


Russia, which sees Nato as a threat to its security, welcomed the French president’s comments as “truthful words”. Nato, which celebrates 70 years since its founding at a London summit next month, has responded by saying the alliance remains strong. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato,” Mr Macron told the London-based newspaper. He warned European members that they could no longer rely on the US to defend the alliance, established at the start of the Cold War to bolster Western European and North American security.

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Oh wait, it’s time to play good cop bad cop. Gotcha.

Merkel & Stoltenberg Slam Macron’s ‘Brain-Dead NATO’ Comment (RT)

NATO is alive and well and integral to Europe’s security, German chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg have insisted, hitting back at French President Emmanuel Macron’s claim the alliance is “brain-dead.” Macron’s “drastic words” were “unnecessary, even if we do have problems and must get it together,” Merkel complained at a Berlin news conference on Thursday, insisting the “transatlantic partnership is indispensable for us.” Stoltenberg backed her up, declaring “European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity,” and warning that the EU cannot defend Europe without outside assistance. When the UK finally leaves the alliance, some 80 percent of NATO’s defense will be funded by non-EU countries, he warned.

The general secretary praised Germany as “the heart of NATO” and lauded Merkel’s government for boosting its military spending. With most of NATO’s member countries failing to chip in their promised 2 percent of GDP, Germany announced on Thursday it hopes to hit that target for the first time by 2031 – seven years later than the date agreed upon by the alliance’s members in 2014. That fervent defense of the military bloc’s image hardly addressed the problems brought up by Macron, though. Macron had urged France’s fellow NATO members to “reassess the reality of what NATO is in light of the commitment of the United States” in an interview with The Economist published Thursday, suggesting “we are currently experiencing the brain-death of NATO” and lamenting that Europe was losing its grip on its “destiny.”

After the US’ unilateral decision to pull troops out of Syria without consulting the rest of NATO, Europe can hardly trust the Americans to defend it, Macron suggested.

Read more …

I think it’s the Fed, not Apple.

Big Tech Is Dragging Us Towards The Next Financial Crash (G.)

In every major economic downturn in US history, the ‘villains’ have been the ‘heroes’ during the preceding boom,” said the late, great management guru Peter Drucker. I cannot help but wonder if that might be the case over the next few years, as the United States (and possibly the world) heads toward its next big slowdown. Downturns historically come about once every decade, and it has been more than that since the 2008 financial crisis. Back then, banks were the “too-big-to-fail” institutions responsible for our falling stock portfolios, home prices and salaries. Technology companies, by contrast, have led the market upswing over the past decade. But this time around, it is the big tech firms that could play the spoiler role.

You wouldn’t think it could be so when you look at the biggest and richest tech firms today. Take Apple. Warren Buffett says he wished he owned even more Apple stock. (His Berkshire Hathaway has a 5% stake in the company.) Goldman Sachs is launching a new credit card with the tech titan, which became the world’s first $1tn market-cap company in 2018. But hidden within these bullish headlines are a number of disturbing economic trends, of which Apple is already an exemplar. Study this one company and you begin to understand how big tech companies – the new too-big-to-fail institutions – could indeed sow the seeds of the next crisis. No matter what the Silicon Valley giants might argue, ultimately, size is a problem, just as it was for the banks. This is not because bigger is inherently bad, but because the complexity of these organisations makes them so difficult to police. Like the big banks, big tech uses its lobbying muscle to try to avoid regulation. And like the banks, it tries to sell us on the idea that it deserves to play by different rules.

Consider the financial engineering done by such firms. Like most of the largest and most profitable multinational companies, Apple has loads of cash – around $210bn at last count – as well as plenty of debt (close to $110bn). That is because – like nearly every other large, rich company – it has parked most of its spare cash in offshore bond portfolios over the past 10 years. This is part of a Kafkaesque financial shell game that has played out since the 2008 financial crisis. Back then, interest rates were lowered and central bankers flooded the economy with easy money to try to engineer a recovery. But the main beneficiaries were large companies, which issued lots of cheap debt, and used it to buy back their own shares and pay out dividends, which bolstered corporate share prices and investors, but not the real economy. The Trump corporate tax cuts added fuel to this fire. Apple, for example, was responsible for about a quarter of the $407bn in buy-backs announced in the six months or so after Trump’s tax law was passed in December 2017 – the biggest corporate tax cut in US history.

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Will future history books recognize that the Fed collapsed the economy, or will they say it happened DESPITE their genius interventions?

Fed Goes Nuts with Repos & T-Bills but Sheds Mortgage Backed Securities (WS)

Total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet, released today, jumped by $94 billion over the past month through November 6, to $4.04 trillion, after having jumped $184 billion in September. Over those two months combined, as the Fed got suckered by the repo market, it piled $278 billion onto it balance sheet, the fastest increase since the post-Lehman month in late 2008 and early 2009, when all heck had broken loose – this is how crazy the Fed has gotten trying to bail out the crybabies on Wall Street:

In response to the repo market blowout that recommenced in mid-September, the New York Fed jumped back into the repo market with both feet. Back in the day, it used to conduct repo operations routinely as its standard way of controlling short-term interest rates. But during the Financial Crisis, the Fed switched from repo operations to emergency bailout loans, zero-interest-rate policy, QE, and paying interest on excess reserves. Repos were no longer needed to control short-term rates and were abandoned.


Then in September, as repo rates spiked, the New York Fed dragged its big gun back out of the shed. With the repurchase agreements, the Fed buys Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or Ginnie Mae, and hands out cash. When the securities mature, the counter parties are required to take back the securities and return the cash plus interest to the Fed. Since then, the New York Fed has engaged in two types of repo operations: Overnight repurchase agreements that unwind the next business day; and multi-day repo operations, such as 14-day repos, that unwind at maturity, such as after 14 days.

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“Vindman’s concern is all about Ukraine without any explanation of why the United States would benefit from bilking the taxpayer to support a foreign deadbeat one more time. ”

Colonel Vindman Is an ‘Expert’ With an Agenda (Giraldi)

Washington inside-the-beltway and the Deep State choose to blame the mess in Ukraine on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the established narrative also makes the absurd claim that the political situation in Kiev is somehow important to US national security. The preferred solution is to provide still more money, which feeds the corruption and enables the Ukrainians to attack the Russians. Colonel Vindman, who reported to noted hater of all things Russian Fiona Hill, who in turn reported to By Jingo We’ll Go To War John Bolton, was in the middle of all the schemes to bring down Russia. His concern was not really over Trump vs. Biden. It was focused instead on speeding up the $380 million in military assistance, to include offensive weapons, that was in the pipeline for Kiev.

And assuming that the Ukrainians could actually learn how to use the weapons, the objective was to punish the Russians and prolong the conflict in Donbas for no reason at all that makes any sense. Note the following additional excerpt from Vindman’s prepared statement: “….I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine…. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.” Vindman’s concern is all about Ukraine without any explanation of why the United States would benefit from bilking the taxpayer to support a foreign deadbeat one more time.

One wonders if Vindman was able to compose his statement without a snicker or two intruding. He does eventually go on to cover the always essential national security angle, claiming that “Since 2008, Russia has manifested an overtly aggressive foreign policy, leveraging military power and employing hybrid warfare to achieve its objectives of regional hegemony and global influence. Absent a deterrent to dissuade Russia from such aggression, there is an increased risk of further confrontations with the West. In this situation, a strong and independent Ukraine is critical to US national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.”

Read more …

“Burisma’s own American legal team was lobbying State to help eliminate the corruption allegations against it in Ukraine.”

Obama Admin Tried To Partner With Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gas Firm (Solomon)

A State Department official who served in the U.S. embassy in Kiev told Congress that the Obama administration tried in 2016 to partner with the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden but the project was blocked over corruption concerns. George Kent, the former charge d’affair at the Kiev embassy, said in testimony released Thursday that the State Department’s main foreign aid agency, known as USAID, planned to co-sponsor a clean energy project with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden as a board member. At the time of the proposed project, Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine for alleged corruption. Those cases were settled in late 2016 and early 2017. Burisma contested allegations of corruption but paid a penalty for tax issues.

Kent testified he personally intervened in mid-2016 to stop USAID’s joint project with Burisma because American officials believed the corruption allegations against the gas firm raised concern. “There apparently was an effort for Burisma to help cosponsor, I guess, a contest that USAID was sponsoring related to clean energy. And when I heard about it I asked USAID to stop that sponsorship,” Kent told lawmakers. When asked why he intervened, he answered: “”Because Burisma had a poor reputation in the business, and I didn’t think it was appropriate for the U.S. Government to be co-sponsoring something with a company that had a bad reputation.”

[..] And internal State memos I obtained this week under FOIA show Hunter Biden and Archer had multiple contacts with Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken in 2015-16, and that Burisma’s own American legal team was lobbying State to help eliminate the corruption allegations against it in Ukraine. Hunter Biden’s name was specifically invoked as a reason why State officials should assist, the memos show. A month after Burisma’s contact with State, Joe Biden leveraged the threat of withholding U.S. foreign aid to force Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who at the time was overseeing the Burisma probe.

Read more …

Yes, worrying.

Assange Lawyers’ Links To US Govt & Bill Browder (Komisar)

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers, who is representing Julian Assange is, along with Bailin, a member of Matrix Chambers. But while he is Assange’s lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange’s persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials. Does Assange, or those who care about his interests, know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government? And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there’s chambers where two members are each supporting both Browder and Assange. Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court. In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town.

Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client’s questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up. He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case. Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn’t prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award, set up for Browder’s partners and acolytes. Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador’s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder’s massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications?

Read more …

Imagine a country so corrupt you can put your political counterparts on trial.

Brazil Court Ruling Could Free Lula (BBC)

Brazil’s top court has voted to overturn a rule about the jailing of criminals – a change which could lead to ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva being freed from custody. The ruling, announced on Thursday, stipulates that convicted criminals should go to prison only after they have exhausted their appeal options. The change could lead to the release of thousands of prisoners, including Lula. The left-winger led Brazil between 2003 and 2010, but was jailed last year. He was favourite to win last year’s presidential election but was imprisoned after being implicated in a major corruption investigation.


However, even if he is released, he will be barred from standing for office because of his criminal record. Lula has consistently denied all the accusations against him and claims they are politically motivated. After he was barred from running, right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro went on to win the race. Lula’s lawyers say they will seek the former president’s “immediate release” after speaking to him on Friday.

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And here I was thinking opposable thumbs.

Human Population Came From Our Ability To Cooperate (PhysOrg)

Humans may owe their place as Earth’s dominating species to their ability to share and cooperate with each other, according to a new study published in the Journal of Anthropological Research. In “How There Got to Be So Many of Us: The Evolutionary Story of Population Growth and a Life History of Cooperation,” Karen L. Kramer explores the deep past to discover the biological and social underpinnings that allowed humans to excel as reproducers and survivors. She argues that the human tendency to bear many children, engage in food sharing, division of labor, and cooperative childcare duties, sets us apart from our closest evolutionary counterparts, the apes.

In terms of population numbers, few species can compare to the success of humans. Though much attention on population size focuses on the past 200 years, humans were incredibly successful even before the industrial revolution, populating all of the world’s environments with more than a billion people. Kramer uses her research on Maya agriculturalists of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the Savanna Pumé hunter-gatherers of Venezuela to illustrate how cooperative childrearing increases the number of children that mothers can successfully raise and—in environments where beneficial—even speed up maturation and childbearing. Kramer argues that intergenerational cooperation, meaning that adults help support children, but children also share food and many other resources with their parents and other siblings, is at the center of humans’ demographic success. “Together our diet and life history, coupled with an ability to cooperate, made us really good at getting food on the table, reproducing, and surviving,” Kramer writes.

[..] She found that Maya children contributed a substantial amount of work to the family’s survival, with those aged 7-14 spending on average 2 to 5 hours working each day, and children aged 15-18 spending as much as their parents, about 6.5 hours a day. Labor type varied, with younger children doing much of the childcare, older children and fathers fill in much of the day-today cost of growing and processing food and running the household. “If mothers and juveniles did not cooperate, mothers could support far fewer children over their reproductive careers,” Kramer writes. “It is the strength of intergenerational cooperation that allows parents to raise more children than they would otherwise be able to on their efforts alone.”

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Oct 072019
 
 October 7, 2019  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


Print your own Assange mask

 

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t (Taibbi)
DNC Colluded With Ukraine To Boost Hillary By Harming Trump – Report (DWire)
Bob Woodward: GOP Senators ‘Choking’ On Trump-Ukraine Scandal (WE)
In Last Minute Call, Erdogan Agrees To Meet Trump Over Syria ‘Safe Zone’ (ZH)
Arise, Commissioner Farage! (Pol.eu)
Brexit Border Talk Stirs Up Bad Memories In Northern Ireland (G.)
An Actual Conspiracy Kept Jeffrey Epstein’s Accomplices out of Prison
Chinese Farmers Raise Mutant Pigs The Size Of Polar Bears (ZH)
Lula’s Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. He Refuses. (Greenwald)

 

 

Not even close.

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t (Taibbi)

Start with the initial headline, in the story the Washington Post “broke” on September 18th: “TRUMP’S COMMUNICATIONS WITH FOREIGN LEADER ARE PART OF WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT THAT SPURRED STANDOFF BETWEEN SPY CHIEF AND CONGRESS, FORMER OFFICIALS SAY”. The unnamed person at the center of this story sure didn’t sound like a whistleblower. Our intelligence community wouldn’t wipe its ass with a real whistleblower. Americans who’ve blown the whistle over serious offenses by the federal government either spend the rest of their lives overseas, like Edward Snowden, end up in jail, like Chelsea Manning, get arrested and ruined financially, like former NSA official Thomas Drake, have their homes raided by FBI like disabled NSA vet William Binney, or get charged with espionage like ex-CIA exposer-of-torture John Kiriakou.


It’s an insult to all of these people, and the suffering they’ve weathered, to frame the ballcarrier in the Beltway’s latest partisan power contest as a whistleblower. I’ve met a lot of whistleblowers, in both the public and private sector. Many end up broke, living in hotels, defamed, (often) divorced, and lucky if they have any kind of job. One I knew got turned down for a waitressing job because her previous employer wouldn’t vouch for her. She had little kids. The common thread in whistleblower stories is loneliness. Typically the employer has direct control over their ability to pursue another job in their profession. Many end up reviled as traitors, thieves, and liars. They often discover after going public that their loved ones have a limited appetite for sharing the ignominy. In virtually all cases, they end up having to start over, both personally and professionally.

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When will the MSM start publishing about the “DNC-UKRAINE SCANDAL”? The Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine was convicted in Ukraine for interfering in the U.S. presidential election in 2016…

DNC Colluded With Ukraine To Boost Hillary By Harming Trump – Report (DWire)

The Blaze has released an audio recording that they recently obtained that appears to show Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, admitting that he tried to boost the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton by sabotaging then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. The connection between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Ukrainian government was veteran Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa, “who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration” and then “went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee,” Politico reported.

Chalupa was working directly with the Ukrainian embassy in the United States to raise concerns about Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and, according to Politico, she indicated that the Embassy was working “directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions.” The Ukrainian embassy political officer who worked at the embassy at the time, Andrii Telizhenko, stated that the Ukrainians “were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa” and that “the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa. The Blaze highlighted an email from WikiLeaks from Chalupa to Louise Miranda at the DNC:


“Hey, a lot coming down the pipe. I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last night at the Library of Congress, the Open World Society forum. They put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort. I invited Michael Isikoff, who I’ve been working with for the past few weeks, and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow, since there was a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in the next few weeks. Something I’m working on that you should be aware of.” The Blaze then reported that Sytnyk, who eventually “was tried and convicted in Ukraine for interfering in the U.S. presidential election in 2016,” released a “black ledger” on Manafort during the 2016 presidential election that eventually led to Manafort’s downfall.

Read more …

Republicans drowning in donations.

Bob Woodward: GOP Senators ‘Choking’ On Trump-Ukraine Scandal (WE)

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said Republican senators are “choking” on President Trump’s Ukraine scandal. At his second appearance in Spokane, Washington, in as many days, the famed Watergate sleuth discussed the precarious situation GOP lawmakers find themselves in as Trump faces controversy for encouraging foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden, a political rival, and his son Hunter. “I know Republican senators, and they are choking on this,” Woodward said on Friday, according to the Spokesman-Review. “Whether they say that’s too much, I don’t know.” Some Republicans in the upper chamber have begun to break ranks after Trump openly encouraged Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens on Thursday.

Among those who have vented publicly are Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, as well as Texas Rep. Will Hurd in the House. Trump, who claims his overtures were about corruption and not crippling a political opponent in the 2020 election, repeatedly castigated Romney on Saturday, even calling for his impeachment. In a discussion with college students on Thursday, Woodward said the situation for Trump is getting “more serious each day” and predicted that impeachment in the House “is almost certainly going to happen to Trump.” He added, “But then there’s a trial in the Senate.”


On Friday, Woodward acknowledged that Trump encouraging foreign countries to investigate the Biden family is “probably not criminal,” but he nonetheless referred to the controversy as being wide in scope. Speaking of the House impeachment inquiry, Woodward said, “They’re looking through a keyhole, and it’s a panorama.” Woodward also noted how some Republicans in the Senate are seeing an advantage from the Democrats’ impeachment venture. He mentioned that Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former Trump critic who has become one of his most vociferous defenders, is seeing an influx of donations. Woodward said the South Carolina Republican told him he “couldn’t count the money fast enough.”

Read more …

Erdogan blames the US for not establishing the safe zone.

In Last Minute Call, Erdogan Agrees To Meet Trump Over Syria ‘Safe Zone’ (ZH)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan again threatened this weekend to initiate a military incursion into northeast Syria, where US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are based (and bolstered locally by small American bases), saying an offensive “both on land and air” would come “as soon as today or tomorrow.” Like many threats of an “imminent” invasion, it appears this proverbial can will be kicked further down the road, as presidents Trump and Erdogan held a “last minute” phone call on Sunday, where it appears the two leaders came to some level of an understanding. They discussed Turkey’s proposed “safe zone” east of the Euphrates in Syria — which Erdogan has long urged a resistant Washington to cooperate militarily on — and though exact details of the exchange weren’t published, they agreed to meet in Washington next month upon Trump’s invitation.

“Erdogan expressed Turkey’s unease with U.S. military and security bureaucracies not doing what is required by the agreement between the two countries, the presidency said, adding that the two men agreed to meet,” Reuters reported of the call. As we reported previously, Turkey’s military is reportedly on high alert, ready to carry out the Turkish president’s orders on short notice, after a longtime military build-up along the border. “We will carry out this operation both on land and air as soon as today or tomorrow,” Erdogan said on Saturday. “We gave all warnings to our interlocutors regarding the east of Euphrates and we have acted with sufficient patience,” the Turkish president added.


He further slammed the prospect of cooperating with the US on a US-Turkey administered safe zone “a fairytale” given Washington’s recalcitrance regarding Syria’s Kurds, the ethnic group’s militias of which Turkey considers “terrorists”. The Kurdish dominated and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has vowed it will treat any invading Turkish soldiers as an act of war. In a statement the SDF said it would “not hesitate to turn any unprovoked (Turkish) attack into an all-out war” to defend its region in northeast Syria, according to Reuters.

Read more …

Given what Dominic Cummings thinks of Farage, hard to see him taking up a job with much publicity.

Arise, Commissioner Farage! (Pol.eu)

London may not be planning to nominate a commissioner to Brussels but if it does, some say there’s only one option: Nigel Farage. Conservative MP Steve Baker told the Telegraph’s Chopper Brexit Podcast that the Brexit Party member of the European Parliament would be the obvious choice to be the U.K.’s European commissioner, if Brexit is delayed and the country is able to nominate one. “I think we should appoint somebody with about twenty years experience … we should appoint somebody who’s incredibly well-known throughout the institutions, somebody who can be absolutely relied upon at all times to support our exit from the European Union,” he said.


“And therefore I unashamedly back Nigel Farage to be our next European commissioner in the event, in the unfortunate event, should it transpire, though I think it unlikely, that we have to remain in.” Baker, who leads the pro-Brexit European Research Group of MPs in the U.K. parliament, said the idea would be “inspired by the film Armageddon,” referring to a 1998 science fiction movie. There is a scene where “they’re trying to save the world, and so what they do is they land on the asteroid, and they put a nuclear weapon in the heart of the asteroid, and Nigel Farage is that nuclear weapon,” Baker said. “I’ve reason to think he might say that he would accept such an offer,” Baker added, while noting that “my sympathy for Nigel Farage, which has not always been at very high levels, has dramatically increased the more that I am demonized.”

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A traumatized people. Too easily forgotten.

Brexit Border Talk Stirs Up Bad Memories In Northern Ireland (G.)

Remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo unleashed wind and rain from the Atlantic across the area, a rural pocket of County Fermanagh that marks Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic. “Stay back, stay high, stay dry,” advised the authorities, and residents duly hunkered down. Lorenzo passed without major damage. [..] Around Gortmullan, businesses and ordinary people were left wondering if – and where – to seek cover, a dilemma dating from the 2016 referendum result that now thrummed with urgency. “We’re setting up new companies on both sides of the border,” said Liam McCaffrey, CEO of Quinn Industrial Holdings, which supplies building materials.

Customs checks would be bad enough, but Johnson’s apparent plan to give the Stormont assembly a veto over trading arrangements verged on surreal, said McCaffrey. Power sharing in Northern Ireland collapsed in January 2017 and shows little sign of reviving. “The future of how we trade is to be decided every four years by an assembly that hasn’t sat in three years? Bizarre.” Such was the challenge of Storm Boris. Perhaps it was hot air, a plan destined for oblivion to be superseded by who knows what. Or perhaps it was a blast of what is to come in a no-deal crash-out, or a deal negotiated in the next few weeks or after a general election. The uncertainty was head spinning.


[..] The 310-mile border, drawn in 1922 during the partition of Ireland, bristled with military patrols and fortifications during the Troubles. The 1998 Good Friday agreement and the EU’s single market rendered it invisible, helping to seal the peace. [..] A complex web connects the economies on both sides of the border. Trade in goods is worth about £5.2bn. About a third of Northern Ireland’s goods and services exports are sold to the Republic, while about a quarter of its imports come from the south. Downing Street says electronic paperwork and a “very small number” of physical inspections at traders’ premises would limit disruption. Farmers and business leaders dispute that. Some warn of disaster. Diageo, which makes Guinness and Baileys, estimates a hard border could cost it £1.3m, based on an estimate of an hour’s delay for each of the 18,000 beer trucks that traverse the border each year. Smaller businesses with tight margins could face ruin.

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How could this ever happen? “The parties anticipate that this agreement will not be made part of any public record. If the United States receives a Freedom of Information Act request or any compulsory process commanding the disclosure of the agreement, it will provide notice to Epstein before making that disclosure.”

An Actual Conspiracy Kept Jeffrey Epstein’s Accomplices out of Prison (MJ)

But not limited to: It was just a four-word phrase, a bit of plain contractual verbiage, but even now, more than a decade later, Spencer Kuvin has a hard time expressing just how bizarre it was. “It’s incredibly odd language,” said Kuvin, an attorney in Florida. “I’ve never seen it before in a non-prosecution agreement.” Kuvin and I were talking about the infamous and inexplicable 2007 plea deal offered by then–US Attorney Alexander Acosta, last seen slinking out of the Labor Department’s back door. Kuvin had represented three of Epstein’s victims at the time of the agreement, and Kuvin is still exercised about the deal, in particular its brief immunity clause that continues to protect Epstein’s co-conspirators.

According to a ruling by US District Judge Kenneth Marra in February 2019, “from between about 1999 and 2007, Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused more than 30 minor girls…at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and elsewhere in the United States and overseas.” The ruling goes on to describe a child sex ring: “In addition to his own sexual abuse of the victims, Epstein directed other persons to abuse the girls sexually. Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him. Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.”

But back in 2007, Epstein was charged only with procuring an underage girl for prostitution, having struck an unbelievable sweetheart deal with Acosta. Epstein served 13 months in a Palm Beach County jail, of which six days a week were spent on work release in his high-rise office, a limo chauffeuring him to and from jail. He was also required to register as a sex offender. The deal on its face is incredibly favorable to Epstein. If you look closer, things get even better for him:


“The United States also agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.” The four women named had allegedly helped recruit underage girls for Epstein at his direction. But that four-word phrase “but not limited to” gave a free pass to anybody who would have helped Epstein acquire or traffic underage girls for sex. How could the government agree to immunize “any potential co-conspirators” of an alleged serial child rapist? The question is at the center of so many conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein’s life and death.

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Me when I see this, I’m thinking Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell.

Chinese Farmers Raise Mutant Pigs The Size Of Polar Bears (ZH)

Amid one of the worst food crises in recent memory, Chinese farmers are reportedly trying to breed larger pigs as the African swine fever – less affectionately known as ‘pig ebola’ – has destroyed over 100 million pigs, between one-third and a half of China’s supply of pigs by various estimates, causing pork prices to explode to levels never seen before. As Beijing scrambles to make up for the lost domestic supply with imports, even desperately waiving tariffs on American pork products in what China’s politicians tried to sell to their population (and Washington) as a “gesture of goodwill”, farmers in southern China have raised a pig that’s as heavy as a polar bear.

Once slaughtered, these giant mutant pigs can fetch a, well, giant price on the market. Here’s more from Bloomberg: “The 500 kilogram, or 1,102 pound, animal is part of a herd that’s being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm’s owner, lives.” Soaring pork prices have encouraged small and large farms to experiment with DIY genetic experimentation, in the name of raising pigs that are about 40% heavier than the ‘normal’ weight of 125 kilos.

“High pork prices in the northeastern province of Jilin is prompting farmers to raise pigs to reach an average weight of 175 kilograms to 200 kilograms, higher than the normal weight of 125 kilograms. They want to raise them “as big as possible,” said Zhao Hailin, a hog farmer in the region.”

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The entire case is falling to bits.

Lula’s Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. He Refuses. (Greenwald)

The same Brazilian prosecutors who for years exhibited a single-minded fixation on jailing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are now seeking his release from prison, requesting that a court allow him to serve the remainder of his 11-year sentence for corruption at home. But Lula — who believes the request is motivated by fear that prosecutorial and judicial improprieties in his case, which were revealed by The Intercept, will lead to the nullification of his conviction — is opposing these efforts, insisting that he will not leave prison until he receives full exoneration. In seeking his release, Lula’s prosecutors are almost certainly not motivated by humanitarian concerns. Quite the contrary: Those prosecutors have often displayed a near-pathological hatred for the two-term former president.

Last month, The Intercept, jointly with its reporting partner UOL, published previously secret Telegram messages in which the Operation Car Wash prosecutors responsible for prosecuting Lula cruelly mocked the tragic death of his 7-year-old grandson from meningitis earlier this year, as well as the 2017 death of his wife of 43 years from a stroke at the age of 66. One of the prosecutors who participated publicly apologized, but none of the others have. Far more likely is that the prosecutors are motivated by desperation to salvage their legacy after a series of defeats suffered by their once-untouchable, widely revered Car Wash investigation, ever since The Intercept, on June 9, began publishing reports based on a massive archive of secret chats between the prosecutors and Sergio Moro, the judge who oversaw most of the convictions, including Lula’s, and who now serves as President Jair Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and Public Security.


The prosecutors’ cynical gambit, it appears, is that the country’s Supreme Court — which two weeks ago nullified one of Moro’s anti-corruption convictions for the first time on the ground that he violated core rights of defendants — will feel less pressure to nullify Moro’s guilty verdict in Lula’s case if the ex-president is comfortably at home in São Paulo (albeit under house arrest) rather than lingering in a Curitiba prison. But this strategy ran into a massive roadblock when Lula demanded that he not be released from prison unless and until he is fully exonerated.

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Sep 082019
 
 September 8, 2019  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Horses and person 1939

 

 

To everyone used to receiving Automatic Earth posts in their email, I’m sorry but since yesterday they’re suddenly bouncing again en masse. This makes me very tired by now, but I’ll look for a solution. I suspect there may be a connection between this and Google accusing me of violating their rules, without telling me what rules I’m supposed to have violated.

 

 

Boris Johnson Will Challenge Law Stopping No-Deal Exit In Court (Ind.)
UK Minister Amber Rudd Resigns, Says Unclear Who Is Running Country (Ind.)
Churchill’s Grandson Blasts ‘Unreliable’ Boris And ‘Fraud’ Rees-Mogg (Mirror)
How Bad Is Boris Johnson? We Can’t Even Find The Words (G&M)
Trump Abruptly Cancels Afghan Peace Deal, Camp David Meeting With Taliban (BBC)
Ukraine And Russia Exchange Prisoners In Landmark Deal (BBC)
China’s August Exports Unexpectedly Shrink, Imports Remain Weak (R.)
China: A Paper Tiger In A Fragile Economy (LN)
Robert Mueller Helped Saudi Arabia Cover Up Its Role In 9/11 Attacks (NYP)
On the Road to Interview Lula, Into a Brazilian Black Hole (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

I’ll keep saying they should have gone to the courts much sooner. But it’s unclear what the courts can do.

Boris Johnson Will Challenge Law Stopping No-Deal Exit In Court (Ind.)

Boris Johnson will go to court to challenge the order from parliament to delay Brexit, the foreign secretary has revealed. Dominic Raab insisted the government would not break the law – after MPs passed legislation requiring him to seek an Article 50 extension – but said it would not comply either. Vowing to “test to the limit” what the new law demands, Mr Raab said: “We will look very carefully, legally at what it requires and what it doesn’t require.” And, pointing to the failed legal actions to stop parliament being suspended, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme: “We had two legal challenges last week and we won both of those.”


The comments suggest the controversy is heading for the Supreme Court in late October, with Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s key aide, believed to be convinced there is a legal way out. Mr Raab also dismissed a warning by a former director of public prosecutions that the prime minister is heading for jail if he flouts the law as “ridiculous”. Shami Chakrabarti, Labour’s shadow attorney general, condemned the comments, saying: “Is that what we say to our kids? Is that what we say to vulnerable kids? It’s irresponsible and elitist.”

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Boris has claimed progress in talks with the EU, but the EU has said there’s no such thing.

UK Minister Amber Rudd Resigns, Says Unclear Who Is Running Country (Ind.)

Amber Rudd has claimed it is unclear who is running the country following her shock resignation from the government. The former work and pensions secretary said she did not think the cabinet was having “proper discussions about policy”. When asked who was running the country, if not the cabinet, she told The Andrew Marr Show: “If I knew that I would have perhaps had further conversations with the prime minister or them.” Ms Rudd, who announced her resignation from the cabinet on Saturday, said she quit because she had not seen enough evidence of planning for a no-deal Brexit.


She claimed she was shown a “one-page summary” when she asked for evidence of the government’s work in negotiating a deal with the European Union. “It’s 80 to 90 per cent of government time going into preparing for no deal,” she said. “It’s disproportionate.” She added: “There is no evidence of the deal. There is no formal negotiation taking place. “I think we should be doing so much more to get the deal.”

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Outspoken.

Churchill’s Grandson Blasts ‘Unreliable’ Boris And ‘Fraud’ Rees-Mogg (Mirror)

Sacked Tory rebel MP Sir Nicholas Soames says Boris Johnson is “nothing like” his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill – and called Jacob Rees-Mogg an “absolute fraud”. Sir Nicholas, 71, tore into the Prime Minister and his right-hand man in a scathing interview as “unreliable” Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy lay in tatters. The MP for 37 years said of the PM: “Boris Johnson is nothing like Winston Churchill. “I don’t think anyone has called Boris a diplomat or statesman.


“We all know the pluses and minuses, everyone he has worked for says the same thing: he writes beautifully [but he’s] deeply unreliable.” And of Mr Rees-Mogg, he was even more unforgiving, telling the Times: “He is in serious danger of believing his own shtick. “He is an absolute fraud, he is a living example of what a moderately cut double-breasted suit and a decent tie can do with an ultra-posh voice and a bit of ginger stuck up his arse.” Sir Nicholas blasted Mr Rees-Mogg after the Leader of the House was pictured slouching on the front bench like a sunbed as the Prime Minister suffered one of several humiliating defeats this week.

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View from Canada. Whose head of state still is Elizabeth. “British politics today is what results from the collision of an unstoppable force, an immovable object and a clown car.

How Bad Is Boris Johnson? We Can’t Even Find The Words (Globe & Mail)

We begin this editorial with an apology to you, our faithful readers. In March, we described the Brexit situation, then careening through its third year and nowhere close to resolution, as an “omnishambles.” An omnishambles is a state of utter chaos, total disorder and perfect mismanagement – which brings us to our apology. If you’ve been paying any attention to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, you know that, in declaring United Kingdom politics to have reached peak shambolic six months ago, we spoke too soon. Oh, did we ever. Because if the Conservative government was making an omnishambles of Brexit back in the spring – a happy era now remembered as a halcyon age of a merely half-hearted appetite for national self-destruction – then what words can adequately describe the scale of Mr. Johnson’s achievements?

Megashambles? Summa cum laude shambles? Tyrannosaurus shambles? The-Chernobyl-reactor-just-exploded-and-the-dosimeter-reads-15,000-roentgen shambles? Mr. Johnson is the author of 11 books, some admittedly banged out in the careless haste that is his style. But this week, without breaking a sweat, the PM penned the Odyssey and the Iliad of shambles. He faced his first votes in Parliament and lost them; lost his minority government’s governing majority; sacked 21 of his own MPs, including his party’s longest-serving member and Winston Churchill’s grandson; provoked his own brother into resigning from cabinet, citing a conflict between “family loyalty and the national interest”; and lost control of the House of Commons while remaining so offside the chamber’s confidence that it will not yet allow him to resolve the matter by calling an election.

Mr. Johnson did all that, and more, in the space of two days. What will tomorrow bring? British politics today is what results from the collision of an unstoppable force, an immovable object and a clown car.

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Leaving should still be the priority.

Trump Abruptly Cancels Afghan Peace Deal, Camp David Meeting With Taliban (BBC)

US President Donald Trump says he has called off peace negotiations with the Taliban that sought to end America’s 18-year war in Afghanistan. Mr Trump tweeted he had been set to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior Taliban leaders on Sunday. But he cancelled the secret meeting at his Camp David retreat after the militants admitted they were behind a recent attack that killed a US soldier. The US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban in 2001. The militants had provided a safe haven for the al-Qaeda network to plan the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. A source from the Taliban’s political office in Doha told the BBC that the group was set to hold an “urgent internal meeting” to discuss Mr Trump’s decision.


A meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, just ahead of the 18th anniversary of 9/11, would have been an extraordinary diplomatic move by the US president. The top US negotiator had announced a peace deal “in principle” on Monday. It was the result of nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban representatives, held in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar. Mr Trump’s tweets on Saturday evening appeared to put an end to nearly a year of painstaking negotiations which had excluded the Afghan government in Kabul, dismissed by the Taliban as American puppets. “Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers,” the president tweeted.

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I like.

Ukraine And Russia Exchange Prisoners In Landmark Deal (BBC)

Russia and Ukraine have completed a long-awaited exchange of prisoners. Those freed include 24 Ukrainian sailors and – controversially – a “person of interest” over the downing of flight MH17 which killed 298 people. The swap is hoped to ease tensions between the two neighbours. Greeting the Ukrainians at the airport, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We have to do all the steps to finish this horrible war.” Russia said it was glad its citizens had returned home. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Russian-backed rebels began an insurgency in two regions of eastern Ukraine.

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The trade war can only be part of it.

China’s August Exports Unexpectedly Shrink, Imports Remain Weak (R.)

China’s exports unexpectedly fell in August while imports shrank for a fourth month, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy and underlining a pressing need for more stimulus as the Sino-U.S. trade war escalates. Beijing is widely expected to announce more support measures in coming weeks to avert the risk of a sharper economic slowdown as the United States ratchets up trade pressure, including the first cuts in some key lending rates in four years. On Friday, the central bank cut banks’ reserve requirements for the seventh time since early 2018 to free up more funds for lending, days after a cabinet meeting signaled that more policy loosening may be imminent.


August exports fell 1% from a year earlier, the biggest fall since June, when it fell 1.3%, customs data showed on Sunday. Analysts had expected a 2.0% rise in a Reuters poll after July’s 3.3% gain. That’s despite analyst expectations that looming tariffs may have prompted some Chinese exporters to bring forward or “front-load” U.S.-bound shipments into August, a trend seen earlier in the trade dispute. Many analysts expect export growth to slow further in coming months, as evidenced by worsening export orders in both official and private factory surveys. More U.S. tariff measures will take effect on Oct. 1 and Dec. 15. Sunday’s data also showed China’s imports shrank for the fourth consecutive month since April. Imports dropped 5.6% on-year in August, slightly less than an expected 6.0% fall and unchanged from July’s 5.6% decline.

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Pon Zi.

China: A Paper Tiger In A Fragile Economy (LN)

We typically imagine the Chinese entrepreneur crunching numbers, working around the clock to boost the economy, and repeating Communist propaganda about the West being the supreme devil. But we might have it wrong. Considering that the major source of funding for tens of thousands of companies in China originates from the central bank’s printing press, the reality could be businessmen and employees getting plastered on baijiuand beating each other to death with Pokémon cards during office hours. Think of it as the Eastern version of The Wolf of Wall Street.

[..] Even prior to the trade war, the Chinese government had employed a series of measures to reverse the slump. Thanks to the dispute with the Americans, Beijing’s growth prospects are bearish, projected to fall to a 30-year low of 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019. Because of this, analysts anticipate the PBOC will impose another 50-basis-point RRR decrease. In addition, observers prognosticate that the central bank could cut at least one of its key policy interest rates later this month. This would be the first time since 2015. The routine intervention and stimulus have ostensibly metastasized the economy into an addict, reliant on its next fix. So, can the Chinese economy survive without the state?

In the last five years, China’s M2 money supply – a measurement of the money supply that includes cash, checking deposits, and liquid assets – has ballooned 120%. Since the country is being paralyzed by the trade spat and other negative trends that threaten its foundation, China is not showing any signs that it is ready to hit the pause button on money-printing. In fact, judging by previous remarks by PBOC heads, Beijing might rev it up even more, especially if the downturn intensifies. But can China print to infinity? It may have to because seemingly every area of the economy counts on being propped up by the Communists through cash injections, stimulus projects, and bailouts.

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“He was the master when it came to covering up the kingdom’s role in 9/11..”

Robert Mueller Helped Saudi Arabia Cover Up Its Role In 9/11 Attacks (NYP)

After a lengthy investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller charged Russia made “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” and said the incursion “deserves the attention of every American.” But former FBI investigators say their old boss didn’t feel the same concern when they uncovered multiple, systemic efforts by the Saudi government to assist the hijackers in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks — a far more consequential, to say nothing of deadly, foreign influence operation on America. As the head of the FBI at the time, they say Mueller was not nearly as interested in investigating that espionage conspiracy, which also involved foreign intelligence officers. Far from it, the record shows he covered up evidence pointing back to the Saudi Embassy and Riyadh — and may have even misled Congress about what he knew.


9/11 victims agree. “He was the master when it came to covering up the kingdom’s role in 9/11,” said survivor Sharon Premoli, who was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center 18 years ago. “In October of 2001, Mueller shut down the government’s investigation after only three weeks, and then took part in the Bush [administration’s] campaign to block, obfuscate and generally stop anything about Saudi Arabia from being released,” added Premoli, now a plaintiff in the 9/11 lawsuit against Saudi Arabia. In fact, Mueller threw up roadblocks in the path of his own investigators working the 9/11 case, while making it easier for Saudi suspects to escape questioning, multiple case agents told me. Then he deep-sixed what evidence his agents did manage to uncover, according to the 9/11 lawsuit against the Saudis.

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Pepe with Lula and Dilma Rousseff, astonished at the changes in the country.

On the Road to Interview Lula, Into a Brazilian Black Hole (Pepe Escobar)

We were just beginning to hit cruising speed in our wide-ranging, 2 hour and 10 minute world exclusive interview with former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in his prison at the Federal Police building in Curitiba, in southern Brazil. And then it hit us hard when he told us: “The US was very much afraid when I discussed a new currency and Obama called me, telling me, ‘Are you trying to create a new currency, a new euro?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to get rid of the U.S. dollar. I’m just trying not to be dependent.’”


It was the foundation stone of what would build into a complex, rolling Hybrid War coup, from NSA spying on the Brazilian government and leading national companies, to the Car Wash corruption investigation (now demolished as a monster racket) to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the imprisonment of Lula, and the emergence of the Purveyor of Chaos, Jair Bolsonaro. My journey started in Cambodia. I had spent hours wandering around Beng Mealea, the jungle squeezing the stony repose of the Angkorian ruins, meditating on the rise and fall of empires. The message popped up on my phone in the dead of night: the request for an interview with Lula, placed five months ago, had been approved. How soon could I get to Sao Paulo?

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Apr 272019
 


Vincent van Gogh Pietà (after Delacroix) 1889

 

The Big Mystery In The GDP Report – Where Did The Inventories Come From? (MW)
China Finds Dollar Hegemony Is A Tough Nut To Crack (WS)
Nearly 102 Million Americans Do Not Have A Job Right Now (Snyder)
Trump Makes Post-Mueller Vow To Release “Devastating” FISA Docs (ZH)
Blowback Is a Harsh Mistress (Kunstler)
Marina Butina Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison (ZH)
Labour Party In ‘Complete Meltdown’ Over Final Say (Ind.)
London Extinction Rebellion Mural is a Banksy (G.)
Greeks The Most Stressed People Worldwide – Gallup (K.)
Brazil Governed By ‘Lunatics’ And US ‘Lackeys’ – Lula (G.)

 

 

Industrial production and imports are both down. But inventories rise.

The Big Mystery In The GDP Report – Where Did The Inventories Come From? (MW)

It is a case that would make Sherlock Holmes proud. Growth in the first quarter smashed expectations, fueled in part by strong inventory building. According to the government, $32 billion of goods were added to inventories this quarter, or $128 billion annualized. This stockpiling of goods boosted first-quarter GDP growth by about 70 basis points and helped propel growth to a 3.2% annual rate, well above forecasts. The problem is that it is not at all obvious where these inventories came from. Goods have to come from somewhere, either produced by domestic firms or imported from abroad. The mystery is that both production and imports fell in the first three months of the year, according to government data.

“You can’t stockpile what you do not import or do not produce,” said Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics. The Fed reported last week that industrial output slipped at a 0.3% annual rate in the first quarter. And the government’s GDP report estimates that imports fell 3.7% in the first three months of the year. The one other explanation — that consumption fell sharply enough to leave businesses with unexpected unsold goods — also doesn’t fit the evidence, Brusca said. Consumption did not fall faster than industrial production or imports to generate any surplus, he said. To be sure, spending on consumer durable goods fell 5.3%, the biggest drop in 10 years. Business spending on equipment was also weak. “Any way you slice it, this GDP report…is an apparent mess,” he said.

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Nobody will want the yuan as long as Beijing decides what it’s worth.

China Finds Dollar Hegemony Is A Tough Nut To Crack (WS)

In terms of global reserve currency, the renminbi (RMB) has a share of only 1.9%, in fifth place, and barely ahead of the Canadian dollar, but miles behind the US dollar (61.7%) and the euro (20.7%). Over the past two years, the RMB has made only microscopic headway as a reserve currency. And as an international payments currency, the RMB has failed similarly to crack the co-hegemony of the dollar and the euro. “With more than 1,900 financial institutions now using the RMB for payments with China and Hong Kong, the internationalization of RMB carries great strategic significance” for banks and financial institutions, gushes SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), which tracks the progress of the RMB as payment currency.


But in March 2019, the RMB had a minuscule share of merely 1.22% for international cross-border payments by value (cross-border payments from one Eurozone country to another Eurozone country are excluded). This minuscule share put the RMB in 8th position, just behind the Swiss franc:

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Civilian labor force participation rate lingers around 63%.

Nearly 102 Million Americans Do Not Have A Job Right Now (Snyder)

At this moment, we are told that only 6.2 million Americans are officially “unemployed”, and that sounds really, really good. But that is only half the story. What the mainstream media rarely mentions is the fact that the number of Americans categorized as “not in the labor force” has absolutely exploded since the last recession. Right now, that number is sitting at 95.577 million. When you add 6.2 million “officially unemployed” Americans to 95.577 million Americans that are categorized as “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of almost 102 million Americans that do not have a job right now. If that sounds terrible to you, that is because it is terrible.

Yes, the U.S. population has been growing over the last decade, and that is part of the reason why the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has been growing. But overall, the truth is that the level of unemployment in this country is not that much different than it was during the last recession. John Williams of shadowstats.com tracks what the real employment figure would be if honest numbers were being used, and according to him the real rate of unemployment in the United States at the moment is 21.2 percent.

Just before the last recession, the civilian labor force participation rate was sitting at about 66 percent, and that was pretty good. But then the recession hit, and the civilian labor force participation rate fell below 63 percent, and it stayed between 62 percent and 63 percent for an extended period of time. So where are we today? At this moment, we are sitting at just 63.0 percent. Does that look like a recovery to you? Of course not.

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“I’m glad I waited because i thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early..”

Trump Makes Post-Mueller Vow To Release “Devastating” FISA Docs (ZH)

President Trump on Thursday renewed his vow to declassify a wide swath of “devastating” documents related to the Russia probe “and much more” – adding that he’s glad he waited until the Mueller investigation was complete. In a Thursday night phone interview on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked “will you declassify the FISA applications, gang of 8 material, those 302s – what we call on this program ‘the bucket of five’?” To which Trump replied: “Yes, everything is going to be declassified – and more, much more than what you just mentioned. It will all be declassified, and I’m glad I waited because i thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early – and I think I was right. So I’m glad I waited, and now the Attorney General can take a look – a very strong look at whatever it is, but it will be declassified and more than what you just mentioned.”

Last September 17th, Trump vowed to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, as well as specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and interviews with the DOJ’s Bruce Ohr. nFour days later, however, Trump said over Twitter that the Justice Department – then headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (while the Russia investigation was headed up by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein) – told him that it might have a negative impact on the Russia probe, and that key US allies had asked him not to release the documents.

“I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents,” Trump tweeted. “They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me – and everyone!”


That key ally turns out to have been the UK, according to the New York Times., which reported last September that their concern was over material which “includes direct references to conversations between American law enforcement officials and Christopher Steele,” the former MI6 agent who compiled the infamous “Steele Dossier.” We now know, of course, that Steele had extensive contact with Bruce and Nellie Ohr in 2016, while Bruce was the #4 official at the Obama DOJ, and Nellie was working for Fusion GPS – the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to produce the infamous Steele Dossier.

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“Mr. Mueller himself may well be subject to prosecution for destroying evidence and, yes, obstruction of justice…”

Blowback Is a Harsh Mistress (Kunstler)

The Thinking Class behind the bad faith Resistance is about to be beaten within an inch of its place in history with an ugly-stick of reality as The Narrative finally comes to be fairly adjudicated. The Mueller Report was much more than just disappointing; it was a comically inept performance insofar as it managed to overlook the only incidence of collusion that actually took place: namely, the disinfo operation sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign in concert with the highest officials of the FBI, the Department of Justice, State Department personnel, the various Intel agencies, and the Obama White house for the purpose of interfering in the 2016 election.


It will turn out that the Mueller Investigation was just an extension of that felonious op, and Mr. Mueller himself may well be subject to prosecution for destroying evidence and, yes, obstruction of justice. John F. Kennedy once observed that “life is unfair.” It is unfair, perhaps, that a TV Reality Show huckster, clown, and rank outsider beat a highly credentialed veteran of the political establishment and that he flaunts his lack of decorum in the Oval Office. But it happens that he was on the side of the truth in the RussiaGate farrago and that happens to place him in a position of advantage going forward.

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The empire destroying lives to uphold a narrative. It no longer matters what these crazies say, and they know it. The public swallows anything thrown at them. Collusion, Assange, Butina, these are all fictional stories, but today they dictate the headlines and dominate the airwaves. Butina is accused of “Ambitious conspiracy”. When she was 22.

Marina Butina Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison (ZH)

Accused Russian spy Marina Butina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, the Hill reports. Butina, who was arrested in 2018, pled guilty to the charges in late. 2018. She will only serve nine months, as the judge knocked nine months off her sentence for time served. Prosecutors had recommended that she serve an additional 18 months, while her lawyers had asked for no prison time and her immediate deportation. Butina wasn’t mentioned in the Mueller report. Before her sentencing hearing on Friday, Butina pleaded with the judge for leniency, RT reports.


“My parents discovered my arrest on the morning news they watch in their rural house in a Siberian village,” she told the court. “I love them dearly, but I harmed them morally and financially. They are suffering from all of that. I destroyed my own life as well. I came to the United States not under any orders, but with hope, and now nothing remains but penitence.” Butina arrived in the US on a student visa in 2016 and became active in pro-gun circles. During the investigation into Russian interference that followed Trump’s electoral triumph, she was accused of working with the Russian government to infiltrate the Republican Party and National Rifle Association. Moscow and President Putin have denied any connection with her.

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Corbyn still clings to his dreams of an independent left-wing Britain. But matters haven’t stood still for the past 3 years.

Labour Party In ‘Complete Meltdown’ Over Final Say (Ind.)

Jeremy Corbyn is under growing pressure over his party’s position on a second Brexit referendum after a leaked draft of a campaign leaflet included no mention of a Final Say vote. The Labour leader faced an angry backlash over the flyer, with MPs saying it had triggered “complete meltdown” in the party and left pro-EU MPs “utterly furious”. As the row deepened, 75 MPs and 14 MEPs wrote to Labour’s governing body to demand that “a clear commitment” to another referendum be included in the party’s manifesto for next month’s European parliament elections. Mr Corbyn’s top team is split on whether Labour should support a second referendum. Several senior shadow cabinet ministers want the party to support a public vote on any Brexit deal passed by parliament, but Mr Corbyn’s inner circle say he only supports a referendum on the government’s deal or to avoid a no-deal outcome.


Other shadow ministers oppose another public poll entirely. In their letter to the National Executive Committee (NEC), the MPs and MEPs said Labour had “a clear opportunity to win these elections” if it fully supports a Final Say vote. They wrote: “These elections are about the kind of Europe we want to live in, and we can’t make a convincing case in them without being clear about Brexit. Labour has already, rightly, backed a confirmatory public vote. The overwhelming majority of our members and voters support this, and it is the democratically established policy of the party. “Our members need to feel supported on doorsteps by a clear manifesto that marks us out as the only viable alternative to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

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First, you just have a wall. The next day, you have a wall worth a million dollars.

London Extinction Rebellion Mural is a Banksy (G.)

A Banksy collector and expert believes a mural that appeared at Extinction Rebellion’s Marble Arch base overnight is an authentic piece by the Bristolian street artist. John Brandler, who owns a dozen pieces by Banksy is convinced the artwork – which features the slogan “From this moment despair ends and tactics begin” next to a young girl sitting on the ground holding an Extinction Rebellion logo – is an original because of its execution and theme. The art dealer and gallerist said: “I’m convinced about the one in London for two reasons: it’s a topic that he would support, and it’s a continuation of the Port Talbot piece that appeared in December 2018.

“The name in the corner is not important, the signature is the work. And this is a Banksy. It’s a wonderful statement and a beautiful piece.” The work appeared at the site which had been occupied by climate activists since protests began in the capital almost two weeks ago. A spokesperson for Westminster council confirmed the work was being investigated but had not been authenticated yet. “We’re aware of the possible Banksy which appeared in Marble Arch overnight. Our officers are looking into this,” he said. Banksy has not confirmed whether the painting is legitimate, and his press team did not respond to a request for comment.

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Gallup does really bad surveys.

Greeks The Most Stressed People Worldwide – Gallup (K.)

Greeks are the most stressed people in the world, according to the results of the Gallup 2019 Global Emotions report conducted on a sample of 150,000 people in 140 countries. According to the poll, which was conducted last year, 59 percent of Greeks said they “experienced a lot of stress yesterday,” putting Greece at the top of the chart for the third consecutive year. After Greece on the list are the Philippines, Tanzania and Albania. The same poll asked respondents about their negative experiences and participants from Chad, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Iran polled the highest. The survey also polled anger levels with Armenians topping the chart, followd by Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians. The five countries recording the most positive experiences are Paraguay, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador.

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“Does anyone really think the US is going to favour Brazil?” Lula asked. “Americans think of themselves first, second, third, fourth, fifth – and if there’s any time left over they think about Americans.”

Brazil Governed By ‘Lunatics’ And US ‘Lackeys’ – Lula (G.)

Brazil is being governed by “a bunch of lunatics” and United States “lackeys” who have shattered its international reputation, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has claimed in his first interview since being jailed one year ago. Lula, Brazil’s president from 2003 and 2011, surrendered himself to police last April after being convicted on corruption charges he disputes. The 73-year-old leftist had been forbidden from giving face-to-face interviews until Friday, when two Brazilian journalists were allowed to visit him at his prison in southern Brazil following a lengthy legal battle.

Lula told them Brazil needed to undergo period of “self-reflection” after what he described as the “crazy” fake news and hate-filled election of far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro last year. “What we can’t have is this country being run governed by a bunch of lunatics. The country doesn’t deserve this and above all the people do not deserve this.” “Brazil is adrift – so far he doesn’t know what to do,” he added of Bolsonaro, who took office in January and has suffered a turbulent opening act in power. Lula said he profoundly regretted “the disaster that is taking place in this country” and criticised Brazil’s dramatic tack towards Washington under Bolsonaro.


“I’ve never seen a [Brazilian] president salute the American flag. I’ve never seen a president go around saying, ‘I love the United States, I love it!’” Lula said of Bolsonaro, who paints himself as a “tropical Trump” and last month travelled to the United States to tout his close relations with the US president. “You should love your mother, you should love your country. What’s all this about loving the United States? “Does anyone really think the US is going to favour Brazil?” Lula asked. “Americans think of themselves first, second, third, fourth, fifth – and if there’s any time left over they think about Americans. And these Brazilian lackeys go around thinking the Americans will do anything for us.”

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